Establishing Powerful Learning Outcomes

In this module, faculty learn how to write course learning outcomes that effectively define what students will know and be able to do at the end of a course. The module introduces a set of steps for writing outcomes that are student-centered, actionable, specific, sequenced from foundational to more complex, and aligned—when appropriate—to program, department, and institutional outcomes.

To satisfy the module requirements, practicing faculty must apply the recommended techniques to write new learning outcomes or revise their existing learning outcomes.

This module is one of five modules under ACUE’s unit on Designing an Effective Course and Class.

Advising Subject Matter Expert

Thomas Angelo
Professor, Educational Innovation and Research
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Module References

Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. C., & Norman, M. K. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Anderson, L. W. (Ed.), Krathwohl, D. R. (Ed.), Airasian, P. W., Cruikshank, K. A., Mayer, R. E., Pintrich, P. R., . . . Wittrock, M. C. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives (Complete ed.). New York, NY: Longman.

Angelo, T. A., & Cross, K. P. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college teachers (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Chickering, A. W., & Gamson, Z. F. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. American Association of Higher Education Bulletin, 39(7), 3–7.

Fink, L. D. (2013). Creating significant learning experiences: An integrated approach to designing college courses (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Harrow, A. J. (1972). A taxonomy of psychomotor domain: A guide for developing behavioral objectives. New York, NY: McKay.

Krathwohl, D. R., Bloom, B. S., & Masia, B. B. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. Handbook II: Affective domain. New York, NY: McKay.

Nilson, L. B. (2010). Teaching at its best: A research-based resource for college instructors (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Twigg, C. A. (2003). Improving learning and reducing costs: New models for online learning. EDUCAUSE Review, 38(5), 28–38.