Learning Outcomes

Definition of Learning Outcomes

  • broad statements about intended student learning after the course (or program) has been completed in terms of the desired end product: what students should know and be able to demonstrate, as well as the depth of the learning that is expected
  • knowledge, skills and values required by students to demonstrate learning of core concepts and essential components of the course (or program)
  • often presented in the cognitive, psychomotor and affective domains, but also reflect a range of interacting knowledge, skills and attitudes
  • another way to look at learning outcomes is by referring to the 3 H’s: the habits of the head (what you want students to know); habits of the hand (what you want students to be able to do) and habits of the heart (what qualities and attributes you want students to have)
  • based on unique program situational factors and contexts, the number of learning outcomes that represent a graduate’s integrated and essential learning might be demonstrated through:
    • 5-8 broadly-stated COURSE learning outcomes
    • 10-15 broadly-stated PROGRAM learning outcomes


Note: While you will create learning outcomes as best as you can with the curriculum, course content and student learning in mind, unintended learning outcomes do arise during the progress of a course or over a program’s time. Therefore, some learning outcomes may be more constant, whereas other learning outcomes may need to be adjusted, enhanced or created due to learning situations, student needs or course design needs. Learning outcomes are not fixed and should evolve as the course evolves over years and as students engage in their learning

How Do They Fit Within The Course Design?

  • learning outcomes are linked to the assessment and evaluation methods, along with the teaching and learning strategies
  • best practice to write/edit your learning outcomes first, before your other methods and strategies are chosen
  • keep the learner front and centre at all times during the planning process.
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