CME Info Center

Identify Learning Objectives and Desired Outcomes

Learning objectives and activity outcomes are critical for planning and evaluating Category 1 activities as well as helping prospective participants determine if the activity meets their needs or interests.

Learning objectives should be developed after the educational needs for the activity have been identified. The objectives should support the needs assessment findings.

A learning objective is a brief, clear statement of what the participant should be able to do after participating in the educational activity. A well-written objective is specific and measurable. Keep the following in mind:

  • Write objectives from the perspective of the learner. Begin with the statement “At the conclusion of this activity, participants should be able to:”
  • Use active verbs, such as those below, and be specific. Avoid vague terms such as "know," "learn," "comprehend," "study," "cover," and "understand."
  • Learning must be observable and measurable so that the learner can assess if the activity was successful and beneficial.

Verbs to use
Cite Identify Quote Relate Tabulate
Count Indicate Read Repeat Tell
Define List Recite Select Trace
Describe Name Recognize State Update
Draw Point Record Summarize Write
Assess Contrast Distinguish Interpolate
Associate Demonstrate Estimate Interpret Restate
Classify Describe Explain Locate Review
Compare Differentiate Express Predict Translate
Compute Discuss Extrapolate Report
Apply Employ Match Relate Sketch
Calculate Examine Operate Report Solve
Complete Illustrate Order Restate Translate
Demonstrate Interpolate Practice Review Treat
Develop Interpret Predict Schedule Use
Dramatize Locate Prescribe Select Utilize
Analyze Debate Differentiate Inspect
Appraise Deduce Distinguish Inventory Separate
Contract Detect Experiment Measure Summarize
Criticize Diagram Infer Question
Arrange Construct Formulate Plan
Assemble Create Generalize Prepare
Collect Design Integrate Prescribe Specify
Compose Detect Manage Produce Validate
Combine Document Organize Propose
Appraise Critique Evaluate Rank
Assess Decide Grade Rate Score
Choose Determine Judge Recommend Select
Compare Estimate Measure Revise Test
Verbs to avoid
appreciate believe have faith in
know learn understand