New and Improved Tip Sheet for Writing Effective Learning Objectives

Brought to you by the Academic Services team, check out our new and improved Writing Effective Learning Objectives Tip Sheet. Still using Bloom’s Taxonomy of Cognitive Domains, we paired up each domain with action verbs, activities, assignment, and example student learning objectives. We also added tips on how to bulk up your learning objectives from one general verb to two specific, more measurable verbs. Click here for a printable version of the new and improved Tip Sheet for Writing Effective Learning Objectives. It is also included below.

Cognitive Domain


Can the student recall the content?


Can the student explain concepts?


Can the student use the content in a new way?


Can the student distinguish between different parts?


Can the student justify a position?


Can the student create a new product/perspective?

Action Verbs

List, Recall, Reproduce, Define, Memorize, Duplicate, Quote, Enumerate

Identify, Recognize, Express, Describe, Classify, Translate, Restate, Select, Order

Demonstrate, Employ, Interpret, Illustrate, Simulate, Implement,

Synthesize, Determine, Chart, Practice

Compare, Contrast, Differentiate, Question, Criticize, Deconstruct, Determine, Distinguish, Advertise, Correlate, Dissect

Appraise, Argue, Evaluate, Support, Judge, Decide, Debate, Critique, Conclude, Measure, Assess, Estimate, Defend

Compose, Develop, Formulate, Assemble, Produce, Design, Hypothesize, Adapt, Validate, Devise




Objective Quiz, Map Quiz (listing)

Formative Assessment,


Editing, Mapping, Collaborative Presentation, Interviews

Socratic Method Discussion, Formative assessment, Comparative analysis essay, Edit current business plan & question validity

Compare and contrast

Case Study Summary, Negotiation exercise, Critique Essay, Evaluate an ePortfolio

Business Plan; Marketing Plan; Health Assessment;

Research-based nutritional journal;

Create: ePortfolio, Emergency crisis plan, Org chart & job desc;

Design, Create a video on,

Example Student Learning Objectives

Outline the marketing process and discuss the value in each step.

Identify distinctions between various music formats, and discuss how these impact marketing initiatives.

Classifyaccording to …

Calculate the cost to produce a unit of product.


Apply and interpret results of …

Survey and categorize the primary taxonomies of copyrightable works.

Analyze and describe the challenges faced by non-profit performing arts organizations.

Appraise and differentiate between the two major copyright systems practiced today.

Illustrate and assess the 6 exclusive rights of copyright owners.

Evaluate and judge …

Establish evaluation metrics for a marketing program and describe

Create and implement, ..

Devise an evaluation plan.

Develop and hypothesize


Instead of…

Replace with…


Analyze & Describe


Collaborate & Debate


Compare & Contrast

Outline & Summarize


Distinguish between


Analyze & Synthesize


Identify & Distinguish


Demonstrate & Construct


Articulate & Appraise

*Objectives should be SMART:

o Specific

o Measurable

o Attainable by the student and acceptable to the instructor

o Relevant to the setting or topic and realistic to achieve

o Time-bound with a deadline (not necessary if it is an implied outcome for the assignment or course)

*Objectives should align with program-level learning objectives

*Objectives should be student-focused: “What will the student do to apply, analyze, synthesize, and/or evaluate knowledge, understanding, and skill?”

*Objectives should reflect higher-order thinking skills where appropriate

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