How to Identify Students' Academic and Vocational Needs

Students in every program at Mohawk College have specific academic and vocational needs. We describe these needs as Learning Outcomes (LOs).

Learning Outcomes

A learning outcome is a statement about what a student will learn while completing a particular program or course. The key here is in the focus of the statement; it puts the emphasis on what the student will learn, rather than on what the teacher will teach.

A good outcome also provides a method of assessment. Most simply defined, learning outcomes describe what learners are supposed to know, be able to do, or value at the end of a program, course or lesson.

When you’re designing your course, the first thing to consider is learning outcomes, as this will inform your content, teaching and learning activities, and assessments!

Types of Learning Outcomes

There are several different types of academic learning outcomes we use at Mohawk:

learning outcomes used in College system

"Learning outcomes in the Ontario College System" by Mohawk College (c) Mohawk College

Vocational Program Standards/Provincial Vocational Learning Outcomes

These are set by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities. They define program standard outcomes for college programs, including programs leading to certificates, diplomas, and advanced diplomas. More details about published college program standards.

Program Vocational Learning Outcomes

These are developed by the college and validated by the Credential Validation Service, an arm’s-length organization that supports the work of the MAESD. More details about the Credentials Validation Service.

Course Learning Outcomes

These are developed by faculty and program areas for individual courses. They define the course-specific outcomes students will achieve in individual courses. More details about writing course learning outcomes.

Lesson Plan Outcomes

These are developed by faculty teaching a specific course. They identify the learning outcomes for a specific lesson, helping faculty to focus their content and giving students a clear understanding of how each lesson connects to the overall course learning outcomes. More details about learning plans and lesson plans.

We also prepare students to develop specific employability skills. All Ontario Colleges, including Mohawk, use 11 Essential Employability Skills (EESs)  to measure student progress toward these outcomes.

Learning Outcomes at Mohawk

Every program has a list of Vocational Learning Outcomes (VLOs) developed by either the Ministry or the College. Additionally, every program must also develop students’ Essential Employability Skills.

Students in a program must achieve all of the outcomes on both of these lists before they complete their programs. All of our programs have developed maps that outline which courses contribute to these program-level outcomes. To learn more about how these outcomes are developed, see New Program Development.

Course Learning Outcomes contribute to these program outcomes and follow similar principles. See Writing Course Learning Outcomes for more information.