Information Item #2: Submitted by the Academic Programs Committee (2016/2017 - March)


Helpful Resources for Writing Measurable Learning Outcomes 


Compiled by Kristine Webb
Special Education Department
COEHS
 

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:

  • Help students understand your expectations in the course
  • Help you plan overall course development
  • Guide you as you plan appropriate assessments
  • Align with course activities and assignments
  • Help you monitor students’ progress
  • 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
Recall
Underline
Distinguish

Repeat
Name
Identify
Label
List
State
Recognize
Reproduce
Record
Relate
Acquire
Order
Other verbs you use:
 If you want your students to demonstrate their ability to comprehend, use these verbs in your learning objectives:
Translate
Recognize
Report
Interpret
Illustrate

Restate
Locate
Review
Transform
Represent
Describe
Identify
Extrapolate
Select
Formulate
Tell
Express
Convert
Indicate
Classify
Other verbs you use:
If you want your students to demonstrate their ability to apply knowledge, use these verbs in your learning objectives:

Interpret
Dramatize
Schedule
Prepare
Predict

Employ
Demonstrate
Operate
Generalize
Implement
Apply
Practice
Sequence
Plan
Show
Use
Illustrate
Solve
Explain
Complete
Other verbs you use:
If you want your students to demonstrate their ability to analyze, use these verbs in your learning objectives:
Distinguish
Differentiate
Calculate
Question
Solve
Detect
Breakdown

Test
Contrast
Diagram
Debate
Examine
Classify
Order
Analyze
Appraise
Experiment
Relate
Categorize
Discriminate
Determine
Compare
Criticize
Inspect
Inventory
Estimate
Catalog
Dissect
Other verbs you use:
 If you want your students to demonstrate their ability to synthesize, use these verbs in your learning objectives:
Compose
Propose
Formulate
Write
Organize
Systematize
Argue
Conclude

Arrange
Collect
Create
Integrate
Theorize
Combine
Discuss
Improvise
Plan
Design
Manage
Specify
Design
Summarize
Derive
Generalize
Assemble
Construct
Set up
Produce
Build
Restate
Relate
Modify
Other verbs you use:
 If you want your students to demonstrate their ability to evaluate, use these verbs in your learning objectives:
Judge
Evaluate
Compare
Measure
Check
Defend

Value
Score
Choose
Verify
Justify
Criticize
Appraise
Rate
Estimate
Test
Support
Summarize
Revise
Select
Assess
Rank
Weigh
Conclude
Other verbs you use:

 
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.