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Stage 1: Develop and Articulate Learning Goals


The purpose of learning goals are to communicate with students, faculty and stakeholders regarding priorities and expectations and to assist students in choosing programs that meet their personal educational needs.  It is impossible to construct learning goals that exhaustively cover all aspects of a program, so emphasis should be placed on encompassing the most important targets or indicators of educational progress. 

Learning Goals Hierarchy

Learning goals should be established in a hierarchy or cascading matrix that starts at the university-level and ends at the course assignment level.  At each level in the hierarchy there should be clear and demonstrable alignment with the previous or higher levels.

  • University Learning Goals

    These goals are published by the University and are applicable to all university programs.

  • Degree Level Learning Goals

    University learning goals are broken down by degree level to ensure that students' knowledge and skills are appropriate to the level of degree earned. At ASU, we have:

  • College Level Learning Goals

    Each college in the university should draft learning goals that translate the degree level learning goals into language that is more specific to the programs of its college.

  • Major Level Learning Goals

    The college and degree-level learning goals must be further specified to communicate to students, faculty and stakeholders about the priorities and expectations of the major or program. These learning goals should assist students in choosing a major or program that meets their individual educational needs.

  • Course Level Learning Objectives

    Each major level learning goal must be assessed in at least one course in the curriculum. The course objectives on the syllabus of the chosen course(s) must include specific language that can be readily traced back to a major level learning goal.

  • Assignment Level Learning Outcomes

    Each course level learning objective must have a related assignment where it is assessed. The language of the assignment and the measures of student learning must be clearly traceable back to the related course level learning objective.

The first step for every program or major in an academic unit is to demonstrate alignment between its learning goals and the learning goals for the larger university.

One way to approach this is to start by diagramming the linkage between the university's degree-level learning goals and your college's learning goals. Or, you can immediately map the university learning goals to the college and major or program goals by using a table. Examples of each appear below.


Example #2 includes audio

Learning Goals Example #1 Learning Goals Example #2 Learning Goals Example #3


Open the table template listed below and fill out the information needed to complete your learning goals. If you prefer to use a diagram, you may also create that on your own.
Save the file to your local drive or your personal network drive (P:).

Learning Goals Template
Table Template

  1. Click on the Submit button below which will launch your e-mail client. Attach the learning goals and send the document that you saved in the step 1 .
    Submit Learning Goals