Previous | Contents | Feedback | Next
Planning a course

Aims, objectives and learning outcomes


Aims, objectives and learning outcomes provide a clear indication of the goals and purpose of the training. Trainers use them to focus the training and to assess performance and success of participants. Participants can use them to evaluate the training from their own perspective.

Aims are overall statements of what you hope the training event will achieve. For example:

“The aim of this training is to give an introduction to archives, records management and preservation.”

Objectives are more specific statements of what you will present to the participants, for example:

“To present current methods of cataloguing and providing access to records.”

Learning outcomes are a set of statements setting out what the participants should be able to do or understand by the end of the training event. For example:

“By the end of this course you will be able to use the International Standard on Archive Description to create descriptions of archive material.”

We develop and use all three of these so that learners are clear about what the aims of the training are and what they will have learned by the end of it. They can also be used to feed into learners’ evaluation of the training. Response to questions gauging levels of achievement of aims, objectives and learning outcomes can provide useful information on the success of the training.

Writing aims and objectives is fairly straightforward. Keep your language clear and try not to have too many little aims and objectives. Learning outcomes need to be more detailed. They also need to be more carefully crafted to ensure that the outcome as stated is achievable in the context of the training you are developing.

Writing learning outcomes

Learning outcomes can be difficult to write well. It is good to begin with a statement addressed directly to the participant, such as:

“When you have completed this course you should be able to:”

Tips for writing learning outcomes

Learning outcomes must be:

Use words describing activities which can be observed such as:

Avoid words such as:

An example of learning aims, objectives and outcomes

Here is an example of a set of aims, objectives and outcomes for some training in providing reference and user services (also known as access to archives).

Provision of reference and user services


To provide a framework for developing and delivering reference and user services in a variety of record-keeping environments.


Learning outcomes

On completion of this course you will be able to:

  1. Explain the professional issues relevant to the provision of reference and user services
  2. Describe and evaluate local policy on provision of reference and user services
  3. Distinguish between the different types of users
  4. Identify the service needs of different types of users
  5. Identify the appropriate reference and user services for your workplace
  6. Demonstrate effective responses to a variety of research requests
  7. Explain the procedures for providing secure access to records and archives
  8. Describe the essential attributes of a searchroom
  9. Explain the functions of searchroom personnel
  10. Describe the searchroom finding aids
  11. Demonstrate effective use of the different finding aids
  12. Explain the issues relevant to providing copies of documents
  13. Describe the procedures for providing surrogate copies and a reprography service
Top of page
Previous | Contents | Feedback | Next

Last updated: 20 December 2005