Writing Course Learning Objectives

Learning objectives are written statements of what you want your students to learn in your course. They focus on what you want students to know and be able to do when they complete the course. Clear learning objectives will provide a framework for your entire course. Well-crafted learning objectives also guide the course development process. The choice of course materials, assignments or activities, and assessments should all reflect the learning objectives. Each element of the course should relate back to one or more of the learning objectives. Begin writing learning objectives by brainstorming a list of what you want learners to know or be able to do. Include knowledge and skills that can be directly observed and measured. Add to this list a description of the conditions the student should perform under and the criterion for acceptable performance.

CIDR Resources

UW's Center for Instructional Development and Research (CIDR) spends a lot of time working with faculty on developing their courses, and articulating clear learning goals is always a critical step in the process. Below are a few CIDR resources that might be useful, in case you haven't already come across them:

CIDR also has a syllabus web guide that features numerous examples from UW courses that show how our faculty have developed their courses around learning goals: CIDR Syllabus Guide.