Biggs, J. (1996). Enhancing teaching through constructive alignment. Higher Education, 32, 347-364.
HE Academy Engineering Subject Centre. (2007). Constructive Alignment - and why it is important to the learning process. Available online from: http://www.engsc.ac.uk/er/
LTSN Generic Centre. (2002). Guide for Busy Academics: Constructive Alignment. Available online from: http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources.asp?
Outcomes-based pedagogy offers answers to these familiar problems. Rooted in constructivist learning philosophy, OBE expects that students will engage with the learning material in such a way that they can demonstrate that they have achieved the stated outcomes. In 1996 John Biggs, a Tasmanian academic, described the relationship between learning outcomes, teaching materials and the assessment of the students' learning as "constructive alignment". Simply stated, this means that there is congruence, or alignment, between the learning context (the learning outcomes, the teaching activity and the assessment tasks) created in the classroom - virtual or otherwise - by the teacher, and the construction of new understanding and skills in the learning process.
Biggs (2002) depicts the concept thus:
Figure 1: The relationship between learning outcomes, teaching activity and assessment tasks (Biggs, 2002).
There is a measure of reluctance on my part to include this figure, as I believe that it depicts a linearity of relationship that is absent in the 'real world' of constructive alignment. There are many ways in which one might depict the relationship between the 3 elements of constructive alignment: learning outcomes, teaching material and assessment criteria. I prefer the image of lenses that, when aligned, generate an excellent learning experience. Figure 2 denotes my alternative model:
Figure 2: Aligning learning outcomes, teaching activity and assessment tasks. The greater the overlap of the lenses, the more likely that learning will take place.