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Learning Outcomes for Quality Course Development

“Change is the end result of all true learning.”

Creating a course that genuinely impacts learners involves much more than just presenting information. It’s about crafting an educational journey that not only imparts knowledge but also fosters skills and attitudes. In this post, we’ll delve into the key elements of learning outcomes that contribute to the development of a high-quality course.

Understanding Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes are explicit statements describing what learners will be able to do, understand, and apply after completing a course. These outcomes serve as a roadmap for both the instructor and the student, guiding the learning process and assessing its effectiveness. Such roadmap provides:

  • Guidance for Content Creation: Clear outcomes help in selecting and organizing course material relevant to the desired skills and knowledge.

  • Enhanced Learner Engagement: When students understand what they’re expected to learn, their motivation and engagement levels typically rise.

  • Effective Assessment Strategies: Learning outcomes provide a framework for creating assessments that accurately measure student learning.

Crafting Effective Learning Outcomes

To develop robust learning outcomes, there are a few aspects that must be considered. Learning outcomes are typically complete sentences that begin with an action verb and end with a description of what needs to be learned. In some situations, you might also include the required level of achievement. Strong learning outcomes are:

✔️ Measurable

✔️ Observable

✔️ Achievable within a given time frame

👉 Focus on Specificity and Clarity

Outcomes should be specific and clear, leaving no room for ambiguity about what is expected. Use action verbs that denote measurable or observable results, such as “analyze,” “design,” “create,” or “evaluate.”

Anderson and Krathwohl’s revised Bloom’s Taxonomy provides a framework for developing learning outcomes according to the functions of remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating. By using these functions, you have a comprehensive list of strong action verbs that can be used to describe measurable and observable learning outcomes.

See a full-size downloadable image here.

The Pedagogy Wheel

Here is a simpler version of Bloom’s Taxonomy:

Bloom's Taxonomy

👉Align with Educational Standards

Ensure that your outcomes align with broader educational standards and goals. This alignment ensures that your course meets recognized benchmarks of quality and relevance.

👉Incorporate Various Learning Domains

A well-rounded course addresses multiple learning domains:

  • Cognitive: Knowledge and intellectual skills.

  • Affective: Attitudes, emotions, and values.

  • Psychomotor: Physical skills and coordination.

Incorporating Learning Outcomes in Course Design

Structure Content Around Outcomes

Design your course content to systematically lead towards the achievement of the learning outcomes. Each module or section should contribute to these goals.

Use Outcomes to Guide Assessment

Create assessments that directly relate to your learning outcomes. This ensures that your evaluations are relevant and that they accurately measure what you intend to assess.

Feedback and Adaptation

Use the outcomes as a benchmark to gather feedback. This feedback, whether from student performance or course evaluations, can guide future course improvements.

💡You can also use this great step-by-step course mapping guide


Incorporating well-thought-out learning outcomes is a crucial step in quality course development. It not only provides a clear direction for both educators and learners but also ensures that the course content is relevant, engaging, and effective. Remember, the ultimate goal is not just to transfer knowledge but to transform learners, equipping them with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for their personal and professional growth. As educators, crafting courses with clear and meaningful learning outcomes is one of the most significant contributions we can make to the learning journey of our students.

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