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Diploma of Higher Education in Health Sciences - Learning outcomes

Educational aims

This is an intermediate science qualification which aims to provide you with:

  • an introduction to health topics in their wider personal, cultural and social contexts
  • the ability to engage with an evidence-based, scientific approach to health sciences and to develop an appreciation of the limits of scientific knowledge;
  • an opportunity to develop a range of basic scientific and practical skills;
  • an opportunity to develop your general skills in interpreting, generating, and presenting information and data using a variety of text-based, graphical, numerical, audio-visual and online sources, and using a computer to support your learning;
  • an opportunity to enhance your personal development, in particular your confidence in moving to OU level 3 study.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this diploma, you will have knowledge and understanding of:

  • the essential concepts, principles, theories and current issues in the health sciences
  • the structure and function of systems, organs, cells and processes in the human body and their interaction with external factors
  • the scientific basis of human physical and mental health, disease and disability and the use of diagnosis, screening and interventions in defined health conditions.

Cognitive skills

On completion of this diploma, you will be able to:

  • use your knowledge and understanding of essential health sciences facts, concepts and principles outside the context in which they were first studied, and/or in the deployment of routine materials, techniques and practices in the health sciences
  • gather, analyse and interpret information and data from a range of different sources, including texts, tables, graphs, diagrams, numerical data and visual and interactive media
  • critically evaluate information from different sources and recognise the potential uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of information and knowledge in the health sciences.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of this diploma, you will be able to:

  • use a range of practical and professional science skills, including designing, conducting and reporting on health science investigations or practical tasks, and demonstrate an awareness of relevant ethical and business/commercial issues in the health sciences
  • review and manage your own personal and professional development and/or career plans and be able to identify and articulate to others your personal attributes, knowledge and skills
  • use skills that support life-long learning, including reflecting on your progress and using feedback from others to identify your strengths and weaknesses and improve your performance.

Key skills

On completion of this diploma, you will be able to:

  • use appropriate knowledge and techniques to identify and solve problems and discuss issues associated with the health sciences
  • collect, process, analyse and present data using appropriate quantitative (numerical) and qualitative (descriptive) methods
  • comprehend health sciences information and communicate it accurately and effectively using written, visual, and numerical forms in a style and language appropriate to your purpose and audience
  • use digital (IT) tools and resources effectively to find, use, create, analyse and communicate scientific information and data
  • plan and organise tasks effectively, recognising the necessity for personal responsibility and initiative
  • work with others to enhance your learning or achieve joint outcomes.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

Knowledge and understanding is acquired from specially prepared teaching materials using a variety of learning approaches which may include self-assessment questions, reference texts, computer-aided learning packages, directed reading, computer forums and web-based resources. Your understanding of the acquisition, interpretation and analysis of data is further developed by practical work.

You will work independently with the teaching materials, but are encouraged to form self-help groups with other students, communicating by telephone, email and computer forums. Associate lecturers support your learning in a variety of ways.

Skills are developed in parallel with knowledge and understanding. Some modules are more practically oriented than others and also offer the most opportunities to interact with fellow students.

Assessment is by a combination of tutor-marked assignments requiring answers ranging from short reports to essays, computer-marked assignments, and written examinations or end-of-module assessments. In addition, you will have many opportunities for self-assessment, within module texts and online.