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Learning objectives, taxonomy and course descriptions

This resource helps you getting started with your new course description, ensuring that all levels of taxonomy in your learning outcomes are covered.  

Learning objectives

Learning objectives have three functions

  •  Describing what the students need to learn
  • To provide a basis for assessment and grading
  • To outline the teaching activities of the course

A learning objective describes a qualification the student must have gained after the course. Therefore, learning outcomes are most often described as "At the end of the course, the student is expected to be able to ...".

A learning objective is described with a verb + noun: What the student is expected to be able to doverb with a particular topicnoun. For example, "At the end of the course, the student is expected to be able to use anatomical nomenclature". You can observe if the student uses anatomical nomenclature (assessment) and do teaching activities through the course so that it is practiced (teaching activities).

Learning objectives at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and the Faculty of Technical Sciences

Learning objectives for the individual courses are described in the course description. In the guidelines for course descriptions at Nat-Tech about learning objectives, it is written that:

  • The learning objectives for individual courses are in overall accordance with the qualification profile of the study program
  • The learning objectives for individual courses are in accordance with the progression requirements made by the course's placement in the course of the study programme
  • The types of methods used for teaching and examination are relevant to content, purpose, and the learning objectives, and there is a necessary alignment of the course

Read more about the guidelines for study programs and course catalogues at Nat and Tech (in Danish)

A learning objective usually consists of a verb and a noun:

  • The verb describes the level at which the student must be able to demonstrate his/her knowledge, qualifications, and skills. At Nat-Tech, the SOLO taxonomy is used to describe the different levels
  • The noun specifies the subject in which the student must demonstrate knowledge, qualifications, and skills.


A taxonomy is a classification system – in this case a hierarchical structure of learning objectives.

Read more about the SOLO taxonomy here:

Course description

The course description contains a number of defining elements of the course. Here the focus is on the purpose of the course, the learning objectives of the course, and the form of the examination.

The aim is to provide a brief explanation aimed at the student about why he/she needs to study the subject and what it can be used for.

The learning outcomes describe what the student should be able to do when the course is completed.

The form of examination will need to fit the learning objectives and teaching activities.

Read more in Danish here.

Course descriptions with comments

Here you can find a number of course descriptions with comments in Danish. The focus is on purpose and learning objectives.