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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:

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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.