Alignment is the direct link between learning outcomes and course components: assessments, activities, and
learning materials. Alignment is a key part of backward design and is visualized through the course mapping process. Using the Course Map Template to map out your course will help you determine the essential assessments and activities that build comprehension and application of the learning material, leading to achievement of the expected outcomes. A well-aligned course means that all components of the course contribute to the learner’s experience and lead them directly towards achieving the expected outcome.
why is alignment important?
Research has shown that students often struggle, lack motivation, or fail to complete online courses due to information overload, ineffective time management, and lack of meaningful and personal connection. Alignment attempts to tackle these challenges by ensuring there is a connection between the learning material, activities, and assessments to the learning outcomes, which results in more intentional instruction, appropriate assessments, and meaningful engagement of learners. According to Wiggens and McTighe (2012), alignment also provides consistency for students and supports more accurate construction of course concepts.
Ensure that each learning outcome is achievable and has proper learning materials and activities that build comprehension and ability.
Show clarity and transparency in purpose, process, and evaluation of learning.
Enable metacognition – control and regulation of one’s own learning
Prevent information overload and extraneous time spent on activities that don’t contribute to achievement of learning outcomes.
Determine assessments that accurately and fairly evaluate achievement of the learning outcome.
Showing alignment with Mapping
On the course map template you will state which learning objectives will be addressed in each individual module. You should list all course outcomes on page one utilizing Roman numerals. For each module, you will indicate which course outcomes are being addressed by referencing to each course outcome by their Roman numeral.
When listing your module outcomes you should list each using an integer based upon the module number.
Module One Outcome One would be written 1.1
Module Four Outcome Three would be written 4.3
To align course outcomes with module outcomes you will write the module outcome then write the Roman numeral(s) of the course outcomes(s) that your module outcome aligns to.
Module Outcomes and Assessments/activities/Materials
Now that alignment has been made between learning objectives and module learning outcomes you will want to align the rest of the course content. All assessments, learning activities, and instructional materials should align to at least one module learning outcome. By doing so all components of the course will align back to your course's learning objectives.