Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes are the changes you want your students to achieve in your course and the first step in design. The goal is to create outcomes that are meaningful for both you and your students.

On this page:

What are learning outcomes?

When designing course learning outcomes (CLOs), it is important to identify not just content, but what changes you want to see in your students.

What are the benefits of learning outcomes?

Clear, well-designed and transparent CLOs benefit both the instructor and the student.

How do I begin?

You probably already have an idea of some situational factors for your course (e.g., courses students take before your course or courses that build off of it) as well as some sort of focus and content that you want to include.

Your next step is to determine what makes for a good variety of high-quality learning outcomes.


For variety, first look at the domains of learning to understand the different types of learning you may want for your students. The following frameworks can then help you categorize your learning outcomes, determine what might be missing, and understanding what it is you’re really asking students to do.


Regardless of how you categorize your learning outcomes, there are universal properties of good learning outcomes to keep in mind.

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