Achieving Your Student-Learning Outcomes
When you take a college course, chances are the professor will present you with a series of student learning outcomes, also known as SLOs. These act as the goals for your experience in the course. You may also have SLOs for your overall college experience, whether you’re aiming for a masters in learning design technology or another kind of degree. Achieving these SLOs will guarantee you get the most out of your education and will prepare you for your career.
Focus on Your Studies
No goal can be achieved if you don’t give it your all. Your goal may be a degree or a new skill-set for your career, but for now, focus on your individual courses. Even if you’re balancing a job with school, make time for studying every day. If you honestly don’t feel like you’ve accomplished your SLOs by the end of the course despite doing your best to focus on your studies, the pace of your education or the need for assistance may be the reason.
Don’t Be Afraid to Get Help
If learning were entirely a solitary experience, there would be no need for schools and teachers. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. The professor may be willing to set up an appointment with you after class, or he may tell you his office hours at the beginning of the course. Don’t be afraid to visit him during those hours.
If a professor is unable to help at a convenient time or you think you’d learn better at a more personalized pace, see if there are tutors available for your subject. Another student who has completed the course may be willing to tutor you, even if there isn’t a formal tutoring system set up at your college. It doesn’t hurt to ask, especially since understanding the course is foremost among any list of SLOs.
Set Your Own Pace
Just as you should ask for help when needed, you shouldn’t rush yourself if juggling multiple subjects with your life is overwhelming. Studying at an appropriate pace could help you feel less overwhelmed in addition to aiding in successful completion of your SLOs.
Become a part-time student and take fewer courses per semester if that helps you focus. Continue taking courses over breaks if that time off dulls your study habits. Enroll in online courses in lieu of on-campus courses, if being able to fit coursework into your schedule is problematic, and you think you’d study better at a time and place of your choosing.
Learn Outside of the Classroom
Most SLOs include the ability to take what you’ve learned and apply it to everyday living, both in your career and in your personal life. Start practicing that now. You can achieve the goal of being able to apply what you’ve learned in life by doing so whenever possible and filling your free time with more productive activities. Some ideas for continuing to learn outside of the classroom include:
- An internship in a career you’re considering
- A part-time job
- Joining a student club
- Volunteering in your community
- Going on optional field trips
- Exploring nearby cultural centers such as museums and theaters on your own
Whether the goal of your studies is an educational technology masters degree or even an associate degree in IT, there are a number of ways to achieve your SLOs, including reaching out to professors and tutors for help when necessary, learning at your own pace, focusing on your studies and learning outside of the classroom. If your professor or college doesn’t provide SLOs, you can set your own and be on your way to a richer college experience.
About the Author: Tia Rohn is a contributing writer and academic advisor at a state university. She often leads optional cultural field trips for students with the goal of providing opportunities for learning outside of the classroom.