Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the University of Birmingham's online course, Outstanding Physical Education Lessons. Join the course to learn more.

Observable learning framework

Health effects in physical education are predominantly captured through health-related assessments (e.g. fitness tests, body composition assessments) which can lead to inappropriate judgments being made about teachers’ practices and the health capacity of youth (Cale, 2011; Macdonald, 2013). These forms of assessment fail to account for learning in physical, cognitive, social, and affective domains as they focus solely on the physical and often neglect the complex, diverse and individual needs of young people (Armour, 2014).

Figure X and the downloadable pdf is the observable learning framework presented by Dr Dean Dudley in step 3.2. The framework can be used to guide an assessment of learning in physical, cognitive, social and affective domains and focusses on progression in each individual student’s learning. This framework has been drawn from a current project on observable learning led by Dr Dean Dudley and is drawn from a paper currently in the peer review process;

The framework uses the Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes (SOLO) taxonomy proposed by Biggs and Collis (1982). The SOLO taxonomy (Biggs & Collis, 1982) describes five levels in the learner’s development of deep conceptual understanding of a construct. These levels are:

  1. Prestructural (Limited or no understanding)
  2. Unistructural (Understanding of one element)
  3. Multistructural (Understanding of a number of elements but not the pattern of relationships between them)
  4. Relational (Understanding of the links between the elements and the ability to describe the elements as a whole – pattern recognition)
  5. Extended Abstract (The ability to relate and apply the concept to other contexts and other concepts – critical evaluation).

The Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes (SOLO) provides a well-evidenced (Killen, 2005) and applied learning model that informs the dominant pedagogical approach of constructive alignment (Biggs, 1999). Hattie (2009) states that the most effective teachers are able to see through the eyes of their students, therefore by focusing on ‘observed’ outcomes, teachers are able to reduce the risk of nebulous or overly narrow standards infiltrating their judgments of student learning and physical activity behavior. In other words, the application of SOLO taxonomy should serve to empower teachers and students to view the educative goals of PE in any physical activity context.

For further information please contact Dean Dudley on Twitter via @DeanDudley or Vicky Goodyear @VGoodyear

Example of a Observable learning framework

Example of a Observable learning framework Caption for image (Click to expand)

Dudley, D., Goodyear, V.A., & Baxter, D. Quality and Health-Optimizing Physical Education can be two sides of the same coin: Using a clinical approach to teaching and assessment

A PDF version is available to download.

Share this article:

This article is from the free online course:

Outstanding Physical Education Lessons

University of Birmingham