Writing Learning Outcomes Tip #1: Selecting a Learning Domain

By Ryan Smith, Director of University Assessment Services, Illinois State University

It is important to clarify what you want to know before writing learning outcomes. This blog post will address three essential questions to ask yourself beforehand.

Three Learning Domains

A domain is a classification system. In learning theory, there are generally three domains:

  1. Cognitive – mental and intellectual skills.
  2. Affective – emotive and values.
  3. Psychomotor – physical skills.*
*See http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/bloom.html for more information.

Three Learning Domain Questions

To identify what kind learning you want to occur in your classroom or program, ask the following questions:

  • Cognitive domain: “What do you want your graduates to know?”
  • Affective domain: “What do you want your students to care about?” or “What do you want students to value?”
  • Psychomotor (or Behavioral) domain: “What do you want your graduates to be able to do?”

Next Steps

Once these questions have been addressed, the next step is selecting a verb. This topic is covered in Writing Learning Outcomes Tip #2.

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