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Writing Learning Outcomes

How to Write Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes are written in a way that tells us what students know and/or can do when completing a course, program, or finishing their education at EMCC. Student outcomes should be clear, concise, measurable, and utilize student-focused language. 

  1.  Review and identify Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILO) which align to your course or program.  
  2. Using the ILOs to guide your course/program learning outcomes, in collaboration with faculty/staff in your area, determine the outcomes for your course.
    • Determine what will be learned: knowledge, skill, or attitude                
      • Knowledge - cognitive or mental abilities to process and retain information
      • Skill - physical ability to perform an activity/task
      • Attitude - feelings about something
    • At what level will the student be learning?  Please refer to the following Bloom’s Taxonomy Document for the different levels. Note:  If you are assessing students at a “create” level, yet students are submitting at a “remember” level, you may need to adjust the assignment or learning outcome. 
  3. All learning outcomes start with the phrase “Students will…”   
    • Use the suggested action verbs from Bloom's Taxonomy Guide in the Downloads section to the right. You can also refer to Utica College's guide here.
    • The verb chosen for your outcome will assist with HOW to assess the outcome.  

Verbs to avoid (these can be difficult to measure): appreciate, learn, believe, and understand

Sample Learning Outcomes


  • Unclear:  Students will appreciate African music.  
  • Clear:  Students will demonstrate a grasp of historical perspective of African music.

  • Unclear: Students will write a lab report.  
  • Clear: Students will be able to conduct laboratory investigations according to given experimental procedures and analyze experimental data.   


  • Unclear:  Students will understand important concepts.  
  • Clear:  Students will apply important concepts to (insert sequence of courses or program) to draw conclusions about (insert major themes within course sequence or program).  


Institutional-Level learning outcomes are developed by the Student Assessment Committee through conversations with faculty and staff. EMCC's current ILOs are: 

  • Communication
  • Writing/Composition
  • Information Literacy
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Critical Thinking
  • Social, Civic, and Global Responsibility
  • Technological Literacy

Additional Resources