Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes are statements indicating what a participant (e.g., students) will know, think, or be able to do as a result of an event, activity, or program. They are the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and habits of mind that students take with them from a learning experience (Suskie, 2009)

Effective Learning Outcomes

  • Are student-focused
  • Focus on learning resulting from an activity rather than the activity itself
  • Reflect the institution's mission and the values it represents
  • Align at the course/program, academic program/department, divisional, and institutional levels
  • Focus on skills and abilities central to the discipline and based on professional standards of excellence
  • Are general enough to capture important learning, but clear and specific enough to be measurable

(Huba and Freed, 2000)

The ABCD Structure of a Learning Outcome

  • Audience/Who
    • Who does the outcome pertain to?
    • Students will ...
  • Behavior/What
    • What do you expect the audience to know/be able to do? (Include an action verb to describe the learning, chosen from the Blooms Taxonomy word bank.)
    • <learn what>
  • Condition/How
    • Under what conditions or circumstances will the learning occur?
    • <under these circumstances / conditions>
  • Degree/How much
    • How much will be accomplished, how well will the behavior need to be performed, and to what level?
    • <to this level of efficiency / effectiveness>

(Heinich, et al., 1996)

Learning Outcome Examples

Here a few examples of learning outcomes from different departments in Campus Life Services. 

  • As a result of attending Study with Your Brain in Mind, participants will be able to identify at least one study strategy they will use to study for exams this semester.
  • After watching the How to Brainstorm Ideas online workshop, students will be able to correctly use the topoi to generate possible writing topics.
  • After attending orientation, J-1 Scholars will be able to identify at least two ways to maintain their J-1 status. 
  • After completing all-staff training, each group of participants will be able to list at least two differences between adult and pediatric CPR, according to American Red Cross standards.

Having trouble writing learning outcomes? Contact the PAL team! It also may be helpful to ask a colleague to share the learning outcomes they have written. 

Learning Outcomes vs. Program Outcomes

Program outcomes examine what a program or process is to do, achieve, or accomplish for its own improvement and/or in support of institutional or divisional goals; generally numbers, needs, or satisfaction driven.

Example: The Wellness Hub will increase program attendance by 30 percent in the next year. 

Learning outcomes examine cognitive skills that students develop through department interactions; measurable, transferable skill development. They are statements indicating what a participant (usually students) will know, think, or be able to do as a result of an event, activity, program, etc.

Example: After watching the How to Brainstorm Ideas online workshop, students will be able to correctly use the topoi to generate possible writing topics.

CLS Learning Outcome Domains

The Campus Life Services learning outcome domains include knowledge acquisition, construction, integration and application, cognitive complexity, intrapersonal development, interpersonal competence, humanitarianism and civic engagement, and practice competence. These domains were adapted from the CAS Learning and Development Outcomes

Six CLS Learning Outcome Domains - knowledge acquisition, humanitarianism and civic engagement, interpersonal development, practical competence, intrapersonal development, cognitive complexity. Each Domain is a column joined to the next by UMB Core Values - Accountability, Civility, Diversity, Collaboration, Leadership, Excellence, Knowledge.

Learning Outcome Domains handout