A model of course design can be described in the following three stages:
Stage 1: Decide on the intended learning outcomes. What should the students be able to do on completion of the course, and what underpinning knowledge and understanding will they need in order to do it, that they could not do when they started? (This obviously poses the questions: what have they done before and what prior ability and knowledge can you expect?) These learning outcomes should each be described in terms of what the student will be able to do, using behavioural verbs, and described as specifically as possible. (Verbs like ‘know’ and ‘understand’ are not helpful because they are so general. Ask yourself, “What could the student do to show me that they know or understand?”) You may find it useful to group your outcomes under the following four headings: skills (disciplinary), skills (general), values and attitudes, underpinning knowledge and understanding.
Stage 2: Devise the assessment task/s. If you have written precise learning outcomes this should be easy because the assessment should be whether or not they can satisfactorily demonstrate achievement of the outcomes.
Stage 3: Devise the learning activities necessary (including formative assessment tasks) to enable the students to satisfactorily undertake the assessment task/s. These stages should be conducted iteratively, thereby informing each stage by the others and ensuring coherence.’