Many new professors start building a syllabus by asking, “What should this class cover?”, rather than asking “What do I want my students to learn or achieve in this class?” Learning outcomes, sometimes known as “goals” or “objectives”, aid in building an effective, concise syllabus, the content of which leads to deep learning.
To determine a course-specific learning outcome, ask yourself: “What kind of measurable and observable knowledge, skills, abilities or attitudes should students have achieved by the end of my class? By what means will they achieve those outcomes?”
Remember that Skills lead to Competency, which leads to achievement of the Learning Outcome. Learning outcomes should emphasize what the students can do with what they have learned, resulting in a product that can be evaluated.
Click here for a document that provides you with a method for identifying desired skills and competencies, and shows you how to write an effective learning outcome.