For academic (curricular) or co-curricular programs, we suggest the learning outcomes should include active-verb description of specific point or task that students will accomplish and are aligned with program, department, and university level goals.
Suggested structure: Graduates of this program will be able to (specific skill or competency).
Developing Outcomes – use the following template when constructing a learning outcome:
[Target population] will [cognitive action verb] [context specific action]
Target Population Examples:
- Programs: Graduates of _(degree)_in _(program)_ will…
- Courses: Students who complete _(course)_ will…
Cognitive Action Verbs - Taxonomy Examples:
Bloom's taxonomy divides learning into three domains: cognitive, affective and psychomotor. Cognitive skills are organized into a hierarchy of six categories: remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate and create. The following university websites provide verb lists that aid in developing learning outcomes at any level:
Anderson, L.W. & Krathwohl, D.R., (Eds.). (2000). A taxonomy for learning, teaching and assessing: A revision of Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives. London, England: Pearson.
Fink's taxonomy of significant learning is non-hierarchical with each element interacting with one another to 'stimulate other kinds of learning. The following university website provides verb lists that aid in developing learning outcomes at any level:
Fink, L.D. (2013). Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses, Revised and Updated taxonomy for learning, teaching and assessing: A revision of Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Medicine Wheel Framework by Marcella LaFever suggests a fourth domain (Spiritual, transcend self-interest) that serve all students, by incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing into how we think about, value and evaluate student learning
LaFever, M. (2016). Switching from Bloom to the Medicine Wheel: creating learning outcomes that support Indigenous ways of knowing in post-secondary education, Intercultural Education, 27:5, 409-424, DOI: 10.1080/14675986.2016.1240496
Context Specific Action:
- Keep specific to the program or course – a topic/concept students would not be able to learn, value or gain skill without this specific educational experience
Examples of Student Learning Outcomes:
Program Learning Outcome (PLOs):
[Gradautes who earn a BS in Crop Science] will [apply crop plant management techniques] [to achieve high agricultural field yields].
Course Learning Outcome (CLOs):
[Students who complete World Crop Distribution 10100] will [identify the types of naturally occurring plant communities] [in different geographic locations around the world].
For more details, download this Program Learning Outcomes Quick Guide
For administrative units, we suggest the operational outcomes should include an active-verb description of a specific point or task that students or staff will accomplish and are aligned with department and university level goals.
Examples of Operational Outcomes:
- Students will articulate their level of satisfaction with the services they receive from the financial aid office.
Kent State Writing Outcomes Workshops
- Dr. Erica Eckert (Assistant Faculty and former Assistant Dean for Assessment and Accreditation, EHHS). Presentation slides. (9/5/2018)
- Dr. Shannon Helfinstine (Associate Director, Assessment, AAL). Presentation slides adapted from University College and Academic Diversity Outreach workshops. (Spring 2022)