Skip to main content

Research Guides

Teaching & Learning: Learning Goals

The Teaching & Learning Guide provides information to help you with your needs as an instructor including class materials, statistics and assessment information, important reminders, and readings and resources.

What is a Learning Goal/Outcome?


Learning Goals/Outcomes are the overarching goals that the UW libraries or departments have decided are the key for student success.

Learning Objectives is the term we're using to describe the smaller and measurable goals that are set for a particular library instruction session.


Image: Learning goal lightbulb Christopher Shave teacherweb.com

    UW Libraries Learning Goals

    The libraries have developed two learning goals for the institution and broken them down into more managable pieces:

    • The University Libraries fosters critical inquiry and thinking skills in students
    1. Student identifies and evaluates new and prior information relevant to a research topic in order to contextualize research questions or problems.
    2. Student uses a variety of strategies and research finding tools (article databases, e-journals, catalogs, data sets, and more) in order to identify and use sources most appropriate to the research question or problem.
    3. Student uses multiple forms of evidence gathered from various sources and evaluates the credibility and accuracy of each source in order to support research goals.
    4. Student uses information across multiple formats (print, visual, multimedia, data, etc.) and genres in order to seek and evaluate relevant or appropriate evidence.
    5. Student applies ethical and legal principles when accessing and using information sources from all formats and contexts.
    • The University Libraries supports students in the creation of new knowledge and contributions to the greater scholarly and research community
    1. Student demonstrates awareness of discourses across academic disciplines, communities and professions, including how each produces, contextualizes, and disseminates information.
    2. Student synthesizes existing information and applies it to new settings and complex problems in order to generate new topics, hypotheses or solutions.
    3. Student effectively interacts and publishes with peers, experts or others in order to collaboratively produce knowledge for various audiences and in various media.
    4. Student uses appropriate tools, technologies, and strategies in order to organize, integrate and present information effectively.
    5. Student demonstrates understanding of copyright and citation conventions in order to meet the ethical and legal responsibilities required when creating intellectual property.

    Find the full document here: Libraries Learning Outcomes

    Other places with excellent objectives to peruse:

    • UW's Expository Writing Program (EWP) details many of their goals and outcomes.  There are ideas for helping incorporate the goals into assignments on the Expository Writing Instructor's Portal
    • UW Learning Goals Gives an overview of how UW's learning goals are created and links to Departmental Learning Goals

    Creating learning objectives for your session

    Learning objectives are what you create while developing your lesson.  Ask yourself:

    • "What do I want students to be able to do at the end of the lesson?"
    • "What do they need to take away?"

    They should map in some way to one of the UW Libraries's broader learning goals but can be as small as:

    • Students will be able to develop a list of keywords using synonyms

    For a 50-minute session, 2 to 3 learning objectives are plenty.


    Examples of common learning objectives:

    Students will be able to...

    • Develop an appropriate research topic using a mind map
    • Develop an appropriate research topic by surveying the literature
    • Narrow/broaden their research topic by developing a list of keywords
    • Develop additional keywords using synonyms
    • List/identify differences between a scholarly and a popular source
    •  Evaluate sources using the CRAP model
    • Evaluate their own sources
    • Search a research database using keywords
    •  Narrow a search using the left hand bar
    • Use the UW libraries website to access services