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Home Course Design Developing a CourseCreating Course Goals & Learning Objectives
Creating Course Goals and Learning Objectives

Developing a new course - or revising an existing course - often begins with drafting course goals and learning objectives.

  • Course goals describe what you want to teach your students.
  • Learning objectives describe what you can see them do as a result of the course.

For example, one goal of a literary criticism course might be to familiarize students with various schools of thought and approaches to literature; a learning objective for that same course might call for students to identify and compare the assumptions about meaning or language within three or four different schools of literary criticism.

Clearly written course goals and learning objectives provide a roadmap through the course content. As the instructor designs the course, the course goals guide the selection of material and the learning objectives impact the methods used to assess student learning.

Strategies and Resources

  • Sample learning objectives from multiple disciplines at Carnegie Mellon University.
  • Articulating your learning objectives from Carnegie Mellon University explains the importance of aligning learning objectives with instructional strategies and assessment techniques to ensure that your course has a strong internal structure.
  • Writing learning objectives using the ABCD method from Penn State notes that “'A' is for audience, 'B' is for behavior, 'C' for conditions and 'D' for degree of mastery needed.”

DePaul Resources

Faculty Instructional Technology Services (FITS)

  • Writing course goals and learning objectives for online, hybrid, or web-enhanced courses.
  • Identify and design learning activities and assessment tools to help online students achieve learning objectives.

Office for Teaching, Learning and Assessment

  • Resources on writing learning objectives
  • List of learning goals for schools, departments and liberal studies domains and for the university