Approach to Learning

Curricula for all Purdue Global programs are designed around career-oriented learning outcomes that prepare students to execute activities and projects to be successful in the workplace.

Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes are written statements that describe the knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors you are expected to master upon completion of a course or program at Purdue Global. There are four types of learning outcomes: 

Program outcomes describe the knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors you are expected to master upon completion of a program. Every program offered at Purdue Global contains several program outcomes. All other learning outcomes map to program outcomes.

Course outcomes describe the knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors you are expected to master upon completion of a course. 

General education literacies describe the knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors you are expected to master to be literate in the general education areas of social sciences, math, professionalism and career development, communications, critical thinking, ethics, science, technology, arts and humanities, and research and information. 

Professional competencies describe the knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors you are expected to master throughout a degree program to be competent in the professional areas of communication, teamwork, leadership, problem solving and critical thinking, personal presentation, and multiculturalism and diversity.


Course-Level Assessment

Throughout each course, faculty assess not only your performance on graded items according to scoring rubrics but also your mastery of the learning outcomes embedded in the course. This course-level assessment (CLA) details the extent to which you have mastered those learning outcomes on the following scale:

  • Mastery (5)
  • Proficient (4)
  • Practiced (3)
  • Emergent (2)
  • Introductory (1)
  • No Progress (0)

Competency Report

If you are enrolled in a Purdue Global degree program or certificate program, you receive a Competency Report that summarizes your progress toward mastery of learning outcomes contained in your program. When you complete a course, course-level assessment results are mapped and added to program outcome data in six categories: 

  1. Leadership and teamwork
  2. Professionalism and ethics
  3. Communication
  4. Disciplinary knowledge and skills
  5. Research and analysis
  6. Critical thinking and problem solving

In your Competency Report, you see how well you are performing toward mastery of the program’s learning outcomes across these six categories at that time in your studies. This report provides a fuller picture of your progress toward achieving knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors to be successful in the workplace. You can view your Competency Report in Purdue Global Campus. 

Competency Reports are not created for Concord Law School students.

Course Types

The building blocks of Purdue Global’s programs are courses. There are three types, traditional courses, module courses, and open courses, which provide you with options to meet your preferences regarding learning approach, schedule, and pace. Traditional courses and module courses, both credit-bearing, are delivered in:

Traditional Courses

Traditional courses allow for multiple learning outcomes, and their credit value varies. They provide instructor-led, step-by-step learning with a fixed weekly schedule. Each traditional course contains assigned readings, learning activities, graded assignments, and virtual scheduled meetings (seminars) with your instructor and peers each week throughout the term. You also have the opportunity to work with your instructors outside of scheduled interaction through virtual office hours. Your instructor scores your performance on weekly learning activities, and your final course grade at the end of the term is the cumulative result of those scores. 

Module Courses

Module courses are one-credit “pieces” of traditional courses built around a single learning outcome.  They provide student-directed learning with ongoing instructor support over a variable schedule.  

You begin the module course in the online classroom by taking a readiness check, a self-assessment whose results show how familiar you are with concepts in the module course. After reviewing the results of the readiness check, you determine how much time and effort to put into course readings and practice materials before you are ready to demonstrate mastery of course concepts in a summative assessment—a competency assessment. If you pass the assessment, the module course is complete, and you can begin work on the next module course in sequence on your schedule without having to wait for the end of a term. Your instructor is available throughout the module course via live “faculty connect” meetings, discussion board exchanges, and email to teach, coach, and support you. You can collaborate with classmates via the discussion board.

For information on the policies governing module courses, see the academic policy section of the Catalog. 

Open Courses

Open courses, offered through Open College at Purdue University Global, are available to the public at no cost. If you take one and wish to demonstrate mastery of the course concepts you have learned, you may take a corresponding course assessment for a small fee. If you pass the assessment, you earn college credit to apply toward a Purdue Global degree program.  

While open courses can be applied toward many Purdue Global programs, they are particularly useful for the Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies and Associate of Science in Professional Studies programs offered through Open College.

Relationship Between Traditional Courses and Module Courses

The 🌐 icon appears in the title of traditional courses that are also available as a set of module courses.  

As module courses are one-credit “pieces” of traditional courses, you can meet the same requirements by completing either a traditional course or a set of corresponding module courses.  

Example: You can meet the CM107 🌐 College Composition I five-credit course requirement by passing either the traditional course or the equivalent five module courses. 

  • Traditional Course: CM107 🌐 College Composition I (worth five credits)
  • Module Courses: 
    • CM107M1 Understanding What You Read - A Pathway to Reading and Writing Success (worth one credit)

    • CM107M2 Using Language Appropriate to Audience and Writing Situation (worth one credit)

    • CM107M3 Writing an Effective Academic Essay (worth one credit)

    • CM107M4 Locating, Integrating, and Citing Reliable and Relevant Sources (worth one credit)

    • CM107M5 Writing Effective Professional Documents (worth one credit)

​Learning Paths

At Purdue Global, learning paths allow you to progress through your program in ways that align with your preferences in learning, schedule, pace, and degree of customization. There are three learning paths: GlobalTrack, ExcelTrack, and CustomTrack.  


Programs on the GlobalTrack learning path are composed of traditional courses, while also allowing for the inclusion of module courses, when available for the specific program and term. This flexibility gives you opportunities to adjust your course load and pace along your path toward degree completion. All Purdue Global programs are offered on GlobalTrack except for the Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies and Associate of Science in Professional Studies, which are offered on the CustomTrack learning path. GlobalTrack students must take at least one traditional course each term. 


Programs offered on the ExcelTrack learning path are composed of module courses, with only a select few traditional courses required. You must take all of your program’s courses as module courses, unless only a traditional course fulfills a particular requirement. ExcelTrack is designed to allow students with applicable skills, professional experience, and self-direction to accelerate their pace toward earning their degree, and it uses a term-based tuition model: the more courses you complete per term, the greater your cost savings. ExcelTrack is best suited for students who can commit to a heavy course load and rapid pace of learning every term and thereby achieve savings in cost and time toward degree completion. To determine if ExcelTrack is a good fit for you, speak to your University representative. For more information on the policies governing ExcelTrack, see the academic policy section of the Catalog. For programs offered on ExcelTrack, see Programs A-Z . Note that ExcelTrack availability for some programs may also be limited to certain academic calendars.  


Open College’s Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies and Associate of Science in Professional Studies offer the CustomTrack learning path, which gives you the opportunity to create a self-paced degree plan that focuses on professional knowledge and skills, project management, problem solving, and strategic planning. Both programs culminate in a capstone class with a portfolio project. Working with a faculty advisor, you design your degree by combining credits earned through course assessments, creation of an experiential learning portfolio, and/or transfer credits from other accredited institutions. These two programs are nonterm- and subscription-based. They are for students who bring extensive experience and education to achieve significant savings in cost and time toward degree completion.