Getting Started with Writing Learning Outcomes
Defining Learning Outcomes
Learning outcomes are statements that specify what participants will be able to know, do, or be upon completion of a course.
They should answer the following questions:
- What knowledge should participants possess? What should they be able to do with it?
- What skills should they demonstrate?
- What attitudes, values, or behaviors should they have?
Writing a Specific & Measurable Outcome
- As a result of participating in (program/course name), participants will be able to (action verb) (learning statement).
Examples of learning outcomes:
- Participants will be able to describe the key characteristics of the different classes of planets.
- Participants will be able to explain economic institutions such as the Federal Reserve and stock markets.
- Participants will be able to apply basic pharmacokinetic principles to estimate drug concentration in a patient.
- Participants will be able to collaborate in a multidisciplinary team to solve an environmental problem.
The following table is based on educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives (1956) with verbs representing a hierarchy of learning levels from basic knowledge to the highest level of creativity, as well as extending beyond cognitive learning to affective and psychomotor learning.
|Level of Thinking||Knowledge||Comprehension||Application||Analysis||Synthesis||Evaluation|
|A Few Action Words for Outcomes||
Reviewing your Outcomes
- Do they emphasize the participant, use an action verb, and incorporate a learning statement?
- Are they specific and clear?
- Are they observable?
- Are they measurable? How will they be assessed?
- Are they able to be demonstrated?
- Do they align with the outcomes of the program, unit, or college?