ALOhA! Aligning Learning Outcomes and Assessment: first stages of a flexible curriculum mapping project

Veronica Halupka, Thanh Nguyen, Meng Wai Woo, Julia Lamborn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOther


Context: In a large, research focussed university, departments and disciplines can potentially become siloed in their teaching. Connections between prerequisite and subsequent units can become unclear as responsibilities for unit coordination change among teaching staff over time. Mapping the competencies taught and assessed in units shifts teaching mindsets to an outcomes-based education focus, and helps to mitigate the risk of repeating rather than scaffolding content.

Purpose: The ALOhA (Aligning Learning Outcomes and Assessment) project enables curriculum mapping and constructive alignment across units in undergraduate courses and specialisations. It facilitates productive conversation on outcomes-based education and effective assessment approaches between instructors. This paper outlines the development of a curriculum mapping tool, the model for mapping unit learning outcomes upstream and downstream, and makes recommendations for implementing similar projects in other faculties or institutions.

Approach: The philosophy of the curriculum mapping initiative was to map unit learning outcomes to the smallest possible unit of competency data, in this case 69 Engineers Australia (EA) Stage 1 sub-elements. This is so that they may be flexibly extracted and consolidated to meet reporting requirements for several professional accreditations including EA, Engineering Accreditation Council Malaysia, Australian Computer Society, IChemE and internal university reaccreditation and course review.

Results: Several positive outcomes have been realised through this project. One discipline group used the ALOhA mapping to facilitate a conversation around trading of content to better support the scaffolding of systems modelling across year levels within a course. Several instructors have redesigned their assessment regimes after realising they could be better aligned with their unit learning outcomes. This data has also been used to facilitate analysis for educational research projects, isolating exact units in a course where a particular competency is taught and assessed.

Conclusions: Future improvements to the curriculum mapping will focus on calibrating the self-assessed competency data to ensure an equivalent measure across units and courses, as well as technological and version control upgrades to create a more robust and sustainable system. Aligning assessment with learning outcomes continues to be the focus of the training provided through this project. In the future, ALOhA could also enable shared creation of rubrics based on individual competencies such as communication, research or teamwork.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education - AAEE2018
Place of PublicationHamilton New Zealand
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventAAEE - Annual Conference of Australasian Association for Engineering Education 2018 - Hamilton, New Zealand
Duration: 9 Dec 201812 Dec 2018
Conference number: 29th


ConferenceAAEE - Annual Conference of Australasian Association for Engineering Education 2018
Abbreviated titleAAEE 2018
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand
Internet address

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