International Journal of Art & Design Education

Doubting Learning Outcomes in Higher Education Contexts: from Performativity towards Emergence and Negotiation (pages 313–325)

Volume 33.3   2014



Learning Outcomes models, particularly constructive alignment, are the default ‘theoretical’ tool underpinning HE curriculum design in the UK despite continuing doubts as to their efficacy. With reference to the literature, this article summarises the history of the Learning Outcomes movement and charts the perceived benefits and deficits of Learning Outcomes/Assessment as it pertains to art and design. It proceeds with an examination of the theoretical assumptions that underpin its principles specifically in relation to inclusivity and creative practice. Drawing on cultural historical activity theory, a case is made for a less prescriptive model, one that recognises socially constructed, situated meaning-making, and the impossibility of second-guessing the affect-laden motivations that generate specific learning needs.