Moving to an Outcome-based Education: Defining Outcomes

Moving to an Outcome-based Education: Defining Outcomes

Think for a moment about a course or training session with which you are currently involved. Identify one skill that you think would be essential to know or do by the end of this learning period. If you were able to do this, then you are beginning to construct a learning outcome.

Learning outcomes should:

  • reflect broad conceptual knowledge and adaptive vocational and generic skills
  • reflect essential knowledge, skills or attitudes;
  • focus on results of the learning experiences;
  • reflect the desired end of the learning experience, not the means or the process;
  • represent the minimum performances that must be achieved to successfully complete a course or program;
  • answer the question, “Why should a student take this course anyway?”


Anatomy of Learning Outcomes: Learning Outcome statements may be broken down into three main components:

  • an action word that identifies the performance to be demonstrated;
  • a learning statement that specifies what learning will be demonstrated in the performance;
  • a broad statement of the criterion or standard for acceptable performance.


For example:




(the learning)


(the conditions of the performance demonstration)

Applies principles of asepsis when executing psychomotor skills
Produces documents using word processing equipment
Analyzes global and environmental factors in terms of their effects on people
(Source for categories: Developing Learning Outcomes Self-Study Guide, Humbler College of Applied Arts and Technology, March, 1996)

While writing Outcomes, they need to be SMARTSMART Objectives To implement the Learning Objectives, there is generally a correlation drawn between the learning and assessment method too. –

Assessment Matrix - Statistics (Basic) Cropped

Source: UCLA Office of Instructional Development

Often, educators while designing Learning Outcomes get confused between Goals, Objectives and Outcomes.slo_1

Here is a table differentiating the three from each other –

Goals Vs Objectives VsOutcomes

WordPress Image Lightbox Plugin