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Writing Pedagogically Sound
Outcomes and Learning Objectives

Course outcomes offer a description of what a student should be able to do at the end of a course and learning objectives explain what students should know or be able to perform/accomplish by the end of a class session.  Pedagogically sound course outcomes and learning objectives are carefully crafted descriptions that help students understand what they are doing and why. In other words, they are used to help guide students and allow instructors to share their intent and direction to the course and its content.  Ideally, your outcomes/objectives should reflect various levels of learning according to Bloom’s Taxonomy during the semester and class lesson respectively. 

Each course outcome and/or learning objective should include the following three components:   

  1. Conditions: how, when, where, or with what
  2. Performance statement: stated with an action verb (refer to Bloom’s Taxonomy)
  3. Criterion measure: defines the level of performance and product, process, or outcome.

Remember:  At the end of our class session, you will be able to describe what a pedagogically sound learning objective is in your own words.

UnderstandAt the end of the lesson, you will be able to express the differences between quantitative and qualitative research methods.

Apply: By the end of the semester, each person will be able to calculate formulas and sketch a graph utilizing the practices introduced in class and in the textbook.

Analyze: During the lesson, you will dissect learning objectives by color-coding the 3 main elements of conditions, performance, and criterion.

Evaluate: You will critique a classmate’s public speaking skills in a whole-class workshop by considering whether they conform to specifications outlined in our course textbook.

Create: By the end of our teacher training, we will be able to formulate a pedagogically sound learning objective.

PDF version of the information on this page


Orlich, D. C., Harder, R. J., Callahan, R. C., Trevisan, M. S., Brown, A. H., Miller, D. E.  (2013).  Teaching strategies: A guide to effective instruction (10th ed.).  Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

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Last Updated: 8/2/22