Writing Learning Outcomes

What do you want your students to know and be able to do as a result of taking your course?

What do you want your students to know and be able to do as a result of taking your course? What do you want your student to know and be able to do as a graduate of your program?

Having learning outcomes focuses on the most important aspects of your class/program, and also helps students understand what your learning goals are for them and what they should be working toward.

Four to seven outcomes are a good number for a course or program. More than seven outcomes and it becomes very difficult to track. Focus on the most essential learning aspects of your class.

Outcomes should all start with: "As a result of taking this course, students will be able to...." followed by skill/knowledge and the level to which they should achieve that skill/knowledge.

  • EXAMPLE: By the end of this course, students will be able to design studies for obtaining data whilst avoiding common design flaws that incur bias, inefficiency, and confounding.

Using measurable verbs in outcomes makes it possible to track the extent to which students are learning. It is difficult to measure how much students "know" or "understand" so it is best not to use these verbs.

Student Learning Outcomes Part 1
Student Learning Outcomes Part 2


The following documents can be used to help guide you in creating learning outcomes.

  • - This breaks down a large variety of "action verbs" according to the different levels of Bloom's Taxonomy. It includes several examples of "starter" objectives.
  • - This arranges the action verbs along a spectrum from lower-order thinking skills (LOTS) to higher-order thinking skills (HOTS). A well-designed set of outcomes will include a mixture of all levels of Bloom's Taxonomy.
  • - Yet another way of organizing action verbs according to Bloom's Taxonomy. This list includes examples of learning outcomes at each level along with a sample test question that aligns with the learning outcome. Assessments should always reflect the desired learning outcomes. We refer to this as "alignment."
  • - A comprehensive set of learning outcomes can be used as a helpful study guide. If students are confident in their ability to complete the listed tasks, then they should do well on the assessment, which should be measuring their ability to complete these tasks.

It can be challenging to create well-crafted learning outcomes. If you would like to consult with CAFE about writing learning outcomes, please click the button below to schedule a consultation: