Getting Started

Welcome to Shaping Outcomes!

(We suggest you print this out and keep in a Shaping Outcomes folder, along with your user ID and passwords.)

Shaping Outcomes is an online, Web-based tutorial from the IMLS to help museum and library professionals learn more about obpe (outcomes-based planning and evaluation).

This course will:

• introduce you to the basic concepts and terminology of outcome based planning,
• help you better articulate how your program makes an impact,
• give you tools to demonstrate a program’s value to funders and stakeholders, and
• provide you with ways to help unite project teams around big ideas and goals.

In this course, you will learn to create a program with realistic, achievable goals and outcomes using OBPE.

To complete the course, you will use two different online interfaces:

1. The wiki. Here you will be able to access all of course instructions, submit assignments, participate in discussions, and ask questions.

2. Shaping Outcomes Tutorial

To Do Before Beginning Shaping Outcomes:

1. Be sure that your computer and Internet access are configured properly.

2. Complete the Shaping Outcomes Tutorial Orientation located on the Web at:

The Tutorial Orientation includes information about terminology, how to work through the Shaping Outcomes course, and more.

3. Optional: Read the Chronicle of Higher Education's article on OBPE

Begin with a project or program idea:

The ideal way to learn how to do outcome based planning and evaluation is to work on something practical that will benefit you and the project.

Before you begin the course, have an idea for a project that you will use as you learn. This will be the source for your assignments and logic model. Projects that are appropriate for Shaping Outcomes should have several characteristics:

  • The project should be discrete, meaning that it has to have a beginning and an end.
  • The project should be special, in that it is unique and not already part of the ordinary business of your organization.
  • The project should be audience-oriented, meaning that it has to make a difference or have an impact for some persons, somewhere.

Over the next few weeks, you work through the learning Modules A - E, reading all of the interactive tutorial screens, and working through the “library” or “museum” examples. You will have three to four weeks to complete the course. You may go as fast as you like, but assignments are made for each week, assuming that most users work through one module each week.

For each module you will:

a) Read all Shaping Outcomes Tutorial screens. If you are a librarian, complete the “library examples”. If you are a museum professional, complete the “museum examples”.

b) Explore the Check Your Understanding sections in the Shaping Outcomes Tutorial.

c) Review the Apply Your Understanding sections and post your responses in the “Assignments” section of wiki.

d) Beginning with Module B, you will begin completing a logic model for your program.

When you have completed each section of your logic model, submit them in the Logic Model Discussion Forum to be reviewed by your instructor.


Each of the Modules A - E will take approximately two hours to complete. You will also spend time completing exercises, sharing your ideas and comments with other students in the Moodle discussion forums, and working on your project planning in the IMLS Logic Model Generator. Please plan your time accordingly, setting aside approximately five hours each week to work on Shaping Outcomes.

HINTS on Time Management: The party line is that you should set aside 3 - 5 hours per week. Once you are used to the interface of the course, wiki and Logic Model Generator, it will probably not take 5 hours unless you read both library and museum examples, look up additional materials and show this course to your colleagues. I recommend all those activities, but here's my Hint for a Week from Hell when your time is short: use the setup and rhythm of this course to your best advantage by reading the instructional material in the course module and then filling in the Logic Model as best you can but also as quickly as you can, and then post it immediately. You're through for the week, but your subconscious is getting a chance to percolate and I am having a chance to give you specific feedback: what to change, what to look at for ideas, etc. If you don't post anything, I can't tailor my advice to you. Does that make sense?

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