Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1How are learning outcomes set for post-secondary education programs?

The Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU) sets standards for many post-secondary programs in the province, especially for those offered by multiple colleges. The standard contains a set of overarching learning goals that guide the development of courses and the assessment of students’ competencies. These overarching goals, called Vocational Learning Outcomes (VLOs), are competencies that are directly tied to the field of practice for which students are training.

Programs that are unique to one college, or offered by only a small number of colleges, instead have Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs). PLOs are developed by the colleges themselves and describe the desired vocational competencies of students upon graduation.

Both VLOs and PLOs are approved by the MCU, and are used to map and design the curriculum of programs.

2Where do I find the official learning outcomes for a specific program?

On each program’s webpage, look for a Program Standards button to view ministry-established vocational learning outcomes, or a Learning Outcomes button to view program learning outcomes set by Humber.

3How often are programs formally reviewed?

Most programs are reviewed every five years – learn more in the Program Review section of our website. If new program standards must be implemented, a program review may be required outside of the regular schedule. Degree program reviews are determined by the number of years of consent granted by the MCU.

4Can changes be made to Vocational Learning Outcomes (VLOs) or Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)?

VLOs within a provincial standard can be modified to reflect an area of specialization or need in a local community. The MCU reviews program standards in intervals of five to 10 years. Faculty representatives of colleges offering the same program can help develop new or renewed VLOs.

PLOs that are part of a Program Description can be changed – this usually occurs during program reviews or, for degrees, when the process of MCU consent renewal. We work with program faculty and administrators to ensure new or revised PLOs reflect changes in the industry or student demand, or improve the clarity or measurability of outcomes.

Changes to either VLOs or PLOs must be reported and approved by the MCU before they become official. Proposing changes to VLOs or PLOs requires the involvement of Humber’s Program Planning Development and Renewal department.

5How does program mapping relate to the Course Outline Software Supporting Instructional Design (COSSID) process?

Program mapping is a necessary and useful precursor to using COSSID effectively. Faculty members work with Humber’s Centre for Teaching and Learning to migrate their instructional design information into COSSID.