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.

On this page:

CLOs should be:

  • High level.
  • Concrete.
  • Student centered.
  • Transparent.
  • No more than five to seven.

Examples

High-level learning outcomes in a course might be:

  • Students will use scientific reasoning and think critically about research problems.
  • Students will develop coherent literary arguments.

Within these high-level guiding CLOs you may have several specific objectives.

  • Students will use scientific reasoning and think critically about research problems.
    • Students will analyze and determine whether hypotheses are logical and falsifiable.
    • Students will create research questions of an appropriate scope based within the literature in their field.
  • Students will develop coherent literary arguments.
    • Students will create a thesis statement that is compelling.
    • Arguments will have two to three key points of an appropriate length that support the main thesis statement.

Impact

Fink recommends asking yourself what impact you want for your students that will still be there a year or more after they’ve taken the class. Specifically, what they will:

  • Know.
  • Be able to do.
  • Value.