Generative AI,  Instructional / Course Design

Generating Learning Outcomes with Generative AI

However essential we know learning outcomes to be for orienting students, articulating them can be an arduous process. Where does one even begin? Thankfully, this is one area where Generative AI’s capabilities really deliver.

Using a text-producing AI tool such as SMARTIE’s Course Structure Assistant, insert as many details about your course and the desired output as possible. Here is a sample prompt that you might submit to AI to produce course-level learning outcomes:

Please create 6 learning outcomes that consider the following parameters. This is a university course at the [ordinal] year level of a [discipline] program. The course title is: “[Course title]”. The description is: “[Custom course description]”. The learning outcomes should be in point form format that begin with “By the end of this course, successful students should be able to”. There should be one learning outcome for each level of the revised Bloom’s hierarchy. Do not use verbs related to understanding, learning, valuing, or anything else that cannot be measured through assessments. The learning outcomes should be achievable over [#] hours across 12 weeks.

You can of course adjust this formula, e.g., if your course only operates on the first four levels of Bloom’s hierarchy, if it is a full-year course, etc. You should also insert additional information where you have it, such as program-level outcomes the course is expected to develop.

To be sure, this is not a final product. From here you can prompt the AI to “Rewrite these learning outcomes” with more specific parameters (e.g., to focus on a particular content area). And it is prudent to verify that the outcomes are using the appropriate action verbs (e.g., AI’s “explain” when we really want students to “contrast”) and that they are indeed SMART (= Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timebound).


By Rajiv Bhola, Educational Development Specialist (Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning)