Creating Well-Written Learning Outcomes

  1. Start with an action verb that is measurable and observable. (Part 1) See charts on following pages. It important that the student can demonstrate the learning and you can observe and measure their degree of accomplishment.
  2. Follow the verb with a statement that indicates the description of learning to be demonstrated (Part 2)
  3. End with a statement to give the learning outcome context and to identify criteria for an acceptable performance. Use the words “by” or “through” that will help with stating how the learning outcome will be assessed (Part 3)
  4. Be specific and not ambiguous. The following verbs are not that specific and do not result in observable demonstrations of student learning. Avoid fuzzy or vague terms when possible.
    • Awareness of
    • Appreciation for
    • Capable of
    • Comprehend
    • Conscious of
    • Familiar with
    • Shows interest in
    • Knows
    • Has knowledge of
    • Learns
    • Likes
    • Memorizes
    • Understands
  5. Create a balanced set of learning outcomes. Too broad a learning outcome will be difficult to assess, while an extensive list of detailed learning outcomes will limit flexibility and adaptability of the curriculum.
  6. Be concise and clearly state the intended learning outcomes. Make it friendly for students, faculty and others.
  7. The learning outcomes have to be realistic (related to the real-world) and attainable within the time period of the course or program.
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