Option 2: Rapidly Writing Program Learning Outcomes

Use this option if you:

  • Need to create or modify your program learning outcomes
  • Are prioritizing efficiency right now

Note: If you are using these materials to support curriculum development or review, please let us know at curriculum@uwo.ca so our team can continue to track our impact.

Steps to rapidly writing program learning outcomes online

Option 1 flow

You may wish to set up a Zoom meeting with us before you begin.

1. Brainstorm Essential Program Learning

Assemble a small curriculum committee. Focus on a single module to begin. We suggest choosing the default program or the one with the highest enrolment, like Honors Specialization in [Your Department] or PhD in [Your Department]).

Have the curriculum committee members brainstorm what students will be able to know, do, or value by the end of the program. Collect these words and phrases into a single document. You need not separate knowledge, skills, and values. The resource below provides an example of these steps, as well as space to complete your own brainstorm.

Resource: Brainstorming and Theming for Program Learning Outcomes

2. Theming Essential Program Learning

Alone or with the same curriculum committee, sort similar ideas into (ideally) 6 to 12 categories. After you have created categories, create headings reflecting the theme of each category. If you worked alone, check in with your curriculum committee on themes. These themes, plus the words below each, form the basis of writing new program learning outcomes.

3. Write Program Learning Outcomes for One Module

Divide up the themes among the members of your curriculum committee and ask them to write their assigned outcomes.

Use the brief tutorial below as well as the "Quick Guide to Writing Program Learning Outcomes" which includes guidelines, example outcomes, and lists of action verbs.

Collect the draft outcomes and share the complete list with your curriculum committee along with the "Questions for Reviewing Program Learning Outcomes".

Video: Writing program learning outcomes online [9 minutes]

Questions for Reviewing Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Do they accurately describe what a graduate should know, value and be able to do? Are there any specific statements that should be added, consolidated or removed?
  2. Do the action verbs adequately convey an appropriate level of understanding for each learning outcome?
  3. Could multiple audiences (e.g. students, instructors, employers, administrators, across institutions) understand the learning outcomes?
  4. Would the discipline be clear if the statement were read in isolation?
  5. Could you appropriately assess each outcome?

4. Write Program Learning Outcomes for Other Modules

Once you have program learning outcomes written for the initial module, you will need to write outcomes for other modules in your program.

For undergraduate programs this includes Majors, Specializations, and Honours Specializations (but not Minors)

For graduate programs, this includes Master's and Doctoral degrees, potentially for multiple program names.

5. Align Program Learning Outcomes with Western Degree Outcomes

Program learning outcomes from all of your modules need to be aligned with Western Degree Outcomes. Watch our brief tutorial below on how to align the program learning outcomes with Western Degree Outcomes. Ensure that each Western Degree Outcome is covered by at least one outcome in all of your department's modules.

Video: Aligning Program Learning Outcomes to Western Degree Outcomes [7 minutes]

The resulting table is included in the self-study.

6. Seek Feedback on Program Learning Outcomes

Send the updated program learning outcomes to the broader list of faculty members, instructors, and staff with a deadline for providing feedback. Some programs have also opted to seek feedback from volunteer students at this time. Provide the Guiding Questions for Reviewing Program Learning Outcomes within your email.

Consider assigning modules to different faculty members, while inviting input on all outcomes should they choose.

You can either

  • Share a OneDrive or Google Drive folder with each module,


7. Consolidate and incorporate edits

Incorporate edits received by the deadline into the program learning outcomes, alone or with your subcommittee.



If you would like to discuss this topic further, please contact a member of the CTL curriculum team.