San Diego Mesa College

Writing/Editing Outcomes


Writing Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

Outcomes for the classroom describe the knowledge, skills, abilities or attitudes that a student can demonstrate by the end of the course. Don’t think about content or coverage --consider what students should be able to DO with what they’ve learned by the end of the semester.  How will students demonstrate this?  What can they produce to show faculty that they have learned to apply their new knowledge?

Most programs at Mesa have identified two to four course learning outcomes. By publishing clearly written course learning outcomes, you present the students with what they can expect to achieve when they successfully complete the course.

Bloom's Revised Taxonomy

When creating or modifying outcomes that capture the "big ideas" of a course, faculty may utilize Bloom's Revised Taxonomy of action verbs.  In the 1990s, one of Bloom’s students, Lorin Anderson, revised the original taxonomy changing the names of the major cognitive process categories to indicate action because thinking implies active engagements. Instead of listing knowledge as a part of the taxonomy, the category is divided into different types of knowledge: factual, conceptual, procedural, and metacognitive.

Bloom's Revised Taxonomy of Educational Objectives identifies six major categories of cognitive skills and abilities, including remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and create.  The Revised Bloom's provides key words that can be associated with different levels and evidence of learning complexity.

Habits of mind

When we teach for the Habits of Mind, we are interested also in how students behave when they don't know an answer. The Habits of Mind are performed in response to questions and problems, the answers to which are not immediately known. The focus is on the ways students produce knowledge rather than how they merely reproduce it. We want students to learn how to develop a critical stance with their work: inquiring, editing, thinking flexibly, and learning from another person's perspective. The critical attribute of intelligent human beings is not only having information but also knowing how to act on it.


A course should have two to four key learning outcomes that answer the question:

  1. What will students who successfully complete this course be able to DO
    • Intellectually?
    • Physically?
    • Emotionally?
  2. What minimal skill set(s) should a student have acquired by the time they complete this course?
  3. What knowledge, skills, or attitudes distinguish a student who has competed this course from other students in the program?

Last Updated: May 25, 2017
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