Is there a difference between learning outcomes and learning objectives?

The simple answer is yes there is a difference.  However, it is not a surprise that you may be confused because in many instances the terms are used interchangeably implying they are the same.

Learning outcomes – are broad statements of what is to be achieved and assessed at the end of a session or course.  They are learner-centred and as such are intuitive and user friendly and reflect the integration of knowledge, skills and attitudes.

Learning objectives – are detailed and include in-depth information of each topic or element that one intends to cover in a session or course.  They are teacher-centred and focus on instructional intent, making them aspirational in nature.

For further information refer to the following article:

Harden RM. Learning outcomes and instructional objectives: Is there a difference? Medical Teacher. 2002; 24(2):151-155.


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