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Designing Specific Outcome Aligned Activities

In South Africa, vocational training programs  need to be aligned to unit standards in order to be accredited by a Sector Education and Training Authority.

Below is a table illustrating the process that I use when I need to explain how to create aligned activities to a training organization.


Discussions, presentations, case studies, interviews, research, reports, relevant practical job related tasks etc


Can be individual, paired, group, class


EPL activity

(Establishing prior learning)


This activity unpacks what learners already know about a new section / topic / outcome.

It is placed at the beginning of a section / new concept / beginning of training.


A set of discussion questions

Break concepts down into their simplest essence.


eg. EPL Group activity: Move into groups and complete the following questions



Specific Outcomes Activity


This is an activity specifically designed to reinforce competency.

One activity can fulfil a range of SO’s (specific outcomes).

You know that an activity is aligned when you can use the assessment criterion to evaluate the learners.


Look at the SO’s in the unit standard.

Read the assessment criteria – add a question mark to each one.

Build an activity around the assessment criteria.

Turning the assessment criteria into questions should help you.

Create an assessment rubric or checklist for each activity (use the assessment criteria).


Reflection Task


I call this ‘stop and think.’ It follows a section, an important concept.

Make it provocative.


Place RT’s throughout – during a section or at the end of a section.

Can be a 3 minute task or a homework 1 pager.

At least 1 RT styled question should always be in a test.

Easy way to reinforce values.

eg. Why do you think business value chains are important? Or What value do you believe you add to your job?

Note the use of words such as think and believe. Also try ‘imagine’ or ‘what if’…stimulate an internal response to the material.


Self Assessment Activity

Links to RT as it allows learners to reflect on their competencies and evaluate themselves.

Create a rubric or checklist.

The learner will perform a self assessment.

Read the SO’s.

Turn them into questions that a learner can ask themselves.

Eg. So: Learner will be able to conduct brain surgery blindfolded and without electricity.

Question to learner:

I can conduct brain surgery blindfolded and without electricity.

You can break the SO down into more sections:

I can conduct brain surgery.

I can conduct blindfolded brain surgery…etc




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