Writing learning outcomes

Learning outcomes are statements that clearly specify what students will have achieved and be able to do by the end of a learning activity or course. Learner-centred, they provide a means of guiding learners in their learning while also being able to specify and measure their achievements.

When writing learning outcomes, it is important that outcomes are:

  • specific  
  • measurable
  • achievable.

As learning outcomes should be specific, measurable and achievable, avoid using words that are vague and cannot be measured, such as 'understand', 'appreciate', 'believe', 'learn' and 'become familiar with'.

Follow the guidance provided in the SCQF Credit Rating Criteria Explained (pages 9-10) and use Bloom's revised autonomy to help you write learning outcomes.

Before writing the learning outcomes, you should also consider the following:

  1. What should the learner be able to do at the end of the learning activity?
  2. What knowledge, skill or abilities should the student be able to demonstrate?
  3. What will learners need to be able to do to demonstrate what they have learned?

Bloom's revised taxonomy shows the progression from lower order to higher order thinking skills. Similarly, an effective course will provide opportunities to apply increasingly complex concepts. Please also note, it is possible that learners will move through the levels of the taxonomy several times during a course of study as they meet new and more complex concepts.

Learning outcomes may cover more than one level of Bloom's taxonomy. For example:

  • You will be able to apply legal and ethical principles to the development of a code of conduct.