Helpful Resources for Writing Measurable Learning Outcomes 

Compiled by Dr. Kristine Webb
College of Education and Human Services
Exceptional, Deaf, & Interpreter Education

Learning objectives (sometimes called performance objectives, behavioral objectives, mastery objectives, or cognitive outcomes) are measurable, observable statements of what students will be able to do at the end of a course. As you develop learning objectives, you may discover that learning objectives:  

1.     Help you plan overall course development
2.     Guide you as you plan appropriate assessments
3.     Align with course activities and assignments
4.     Help you monitor students’ progress
5.     Create a fundamental framework for evidence of student competency to be used for accreditation (Mandernach, 2003).    
  
 

Helpful Tips for Writing Learning Objectives:  

           

1. 

 

 Begin each learning objective with the phrase, “The learner will be able to…” or “The learner will…”

Example:
The learner will describe digestive systems of Gastropods and Pelecypods.
2.

Include verbs that allow you measure or observe student progress (see lists of measurable verbs following example below). Avoid using verbs such as “understand” or “learn.”

Example:
The learner will be able to list twenty milestones of development in infants.


Nonexample:
The learner will understand development in infants.

           

Examples of Measurable, Observable Verbs for Learning Objectives

   

If you want your students to demonstrate their knowledge, use these verbs in your learning objectives:

           

Define
Repeat
List
Record
Recall
Name
State
Relate
Underline
Identify
Recognize
Acquire
Distinguish
Label
Reproduce
Order

   

If you want your students to demonstrate their ability to comprehend, use these verbs in your learning objectives:

           

Translate
Restate
Describe
Tell
Recognize
Locate
Identify
Express
Report
Review
Extrapolate
Convert
Interpret
Transform
Select
Indicate
Illustrate
Represent
Formulate
Classify

   

If you want your students to demonstrate their ability to apply knowledge, use these verbs in your learning objectives:

           

Interpret
Employ
Apply
Use
Dramatize
Demonstrate
Practice
Illustrate
Schedule
Operate
Sequence
Solve
Prepare
Generalize
Plan
Explain
Predict
Implement
Show
Complete

   

If you want your students to demonstrate their ability to analyze, use these verbs in your learning objectives:

           

Distinguish
Test
Analyze
Compare
Differentiate
Contrast
Appraise
Criticize
Calculate
Diagram
Experiment
Inspect
Question
Debate
Relate
Inventory
Solve
Examine
Categorize
Estimate
Detect
Classify
Discriminate
Catalog
Breakdown

Order 

Determine
Dissect

   

If you want your students to demonstrate their ability to synthesize, use these verbs in your learning objectives:

           

Compose
Arrange
Plan
Assemble
Propose
Collect
Design
Construct
Formulate
Create
Manage
Set up
Write
Integrate
Specify
Produce
Organize
Theorize
Design
Build
Systematize
Combine
Summarize
Restate
Argue
Discuss
Derive
Relate
Conclude
Improvise
Generalize

Modify

   

If you want your students to demonstrate their ability to evaluate, use these verbs in your learning objectives:

           

Judge
Value
Appraise
Revise
Evaluate
Score
Rate
Select
Compare
Choose
Estimate
Assess
Measure
Verify
Test
Rank
Check
Justify
Support
Weigh
Defend
Criticize
Summarize
Conclude

           

 

References  

 

Florida Department of Education (2002). Designing lessons for the diverse classroom: A

 
 
handbook for teachers. Tallahassee, FL: Bureau of Instructional Support and Community

 

Services, Florida Department of Education.

Mandernach, J. (2003).Writing Quality Learning Objectives. Retrieved September 20, 2005

 
 
from Park University, Park University Faculty Development Web site:
 
http://captain.park.edu/facultydevelopment/writing_learning_objectives.htm

 

Mercer, C.D., & Mercer, A.R. (2005). Teaching students with learning problems. Upper

 

 

 

Saddle River, NJ: Person Merrill Prentice Hall.

 Wandberg, R., & Rohwer, J. (2003). Teaching to the standards of effective practice: A guide

 
 
to becoming a successful teacher. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.