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Related Topics

Focusing on Learning with Outcomes

Further Information (Note: Links open in a new browser window or tab.)

Writing Instructional Goals and Objectives (Brett Bixler, Lead Instructional Designer, Penn State University)

Objectives Builder (online tutorial and tool for writing objectives)

Assignment Outcomes
Sequencing Deliverables
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Thinking About Assignment Outcomes

Learning outcomes state specifically what learners will know or be able to do as the result of successfully participating in and completing their collaborative research project. Outcomes are typically presented as knowledge, skills, or attitudes that students will have upon completion of the project.

Strong learning outcomes have two predominate characteristics—the specific actions that are required of the learners must be both observable and measurable. Otherwise, learning outcomes cannot be authentically assessed.

Writing Outcomes

In order to keep yourself on track in making sure that outcomes are both observable and measurable, avoid using the words understand, learn, and appreciate in your outcomes. Instead, aim for action words to which you can attach assessment. You’ll find Bloom’s Taxonomy1 helpful for finding the most exact action word for a given learning situation. Here are some sample words.

Cognitive Level Activity Type Action Word
Lower Knowledge Count, Define, Describe, Draw, Find, Identify, Label, List, Match, Name, Quote, Recall, Recite, Sequence, Tell, Write
Comprehension Conclude, Demonstrate, Discuss, Explain, Generalize, Identify, Illustrate, Interpret, Paraphrase, Predict, Report, Restate, Review, Summarize, Tell
Application Apply, Change, Choose, Compute, Dramatize, Interview, Prepare, Produce, Role-play, Select, Show, Transfer, Use
Higher Analysis Analyze, Characterize, Classify, Compare, Contrast, Debate, Deduce, Diagram, Differentiate, Discriminate, Distinguish, Examine, Outline, Relate, Research, Separate
Synthesis Compose, Construct, Create, Design, Develop, Integrate, Invent, Make, Organize, Perform, Plan, Produce, Propose, Rewrite
Evaluation Appraise, Argue, Assess, Choose, Conclude, Critic, Decide, Evaluate, Judge, Justify, Predict, Prioritize, Prove, Rank, Rate, Select

Footnotes
1 Bloom, Benjamin S. Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: Cognitive Domain. New York: David McKay and Company, 1956.

Written and Oral Deliverables Creating the Assessment Collaborative Deliberation Developing Learning Teams Learning Through Reflection Learning Outcomes Posing the Problem Supporting Multiple Perspectives Making Informed Decisions Invitational Communication Climate