(Spoiler alert: they have value and use well beyond assessment!)
There is tremendous value in communicating the intentional structure of learning associated with your academic course, co-curricular event, student service, department, division, or institution. The visible alignment of content in your outcome map can serve as a blueprint to orient multiple audiences to intended impact on student learning.
For students: Your map can inform students of the potential impacts your services and activities can have on their learning and development. This can be generally informative, while also clarifying to students the nature and learning expectations of experiences.
And thanks to alignment with larger framework elements, students could also make connections to be intentional in reinforcing higher-level learning goals along their collegiate journeys and in thinking about skills they’ll need for their future careers.
For staff and faculty: Depicting the connections between program objectives, learning outcomes, and other interventions helps crystalize your general purpose after reviewing your map.
Connections to institutional elements and external criteria create opportunities to see complementary work across the institution, which you can leverage to garner collaboration.
Outcome maps can also serve as excellent onboarding materials so people will understand that they are not just leading an isolated workshop or event; they’ll understand how their efforts are part of a systematic, cohesive program with outcome and alignment dependencies toward a larger design. Folks can truly see the impact and relationship of their work on other operations and student learning initiatives.
For external audiences: Prospective students, families, and alumni can benefit from outcome maps by seeing the intentionality and structure behind the associated learning. Accreditors and evaluators can see the connections between content and alignment to requisite standards or criteria.
Outcome maps add a great deal of transparency to what is actually proposed and intended with offered interventions for learning — benefiting everyone.