In order to figure out what a learning outcome for a course or assignment might be, start by asking yourself: “What kind of measurable and observable knowledge, skills, abilities, or attitudes should students be competent in by the end of this experience?” AND “Through what means will they achieve those outcomes?”
Your learning outcomes should answer those two questions.
The key to writing a strong learning outcome is using verbs that indicate higher order thinking skills. Here are a few examples:
Derive, Design, Formulate, Frame, Predict, Interpret, Evaluate, Demonstrate, Analyze, Synthsize, Create, Identify, Compare, Explain
Less Effective Example of a Learning Outcome:
“Students will learn the art of critical thinking.”
A Better Example of the Same Thing:
“Students will be able to think critically by effectively analyzing assigned readings and evaluating the views of fellow students both verbally and in writing.”
The better example contains both observable abilities (thinking critically) as well as a description of the means by which they will prove their competency (verbally and in writing). Including the latter is important because that is a product that you can grade, which is the “measurable” part of the learning outcome.