Difference Between Outcomes and Objectives

Outcomes vs Objectives

Goals, aims, outcomes, and objectives are tools and concepts used in educational settings. There is much confusion among teachers about outcomes and objectives, and there are many who feel that both are same to be used interchangeably. However, learning objectives are not the same as learning outcomes. In most instances, learning objectives are outlined in terms of the subject matter that the teacher intends to teach in a semester or the duration of the course while learning outcomes are defined in terms of what students must be able to do or be able to perform at the end of the course. Let us take a closer look at the two related concepts.


Learning outcomes are expectations from the students as to what they will be able to achieve or accomplish at the end of the teaching in a course. However, learning outcomes do not give an indication of the types of activities that will be undertaken during the duration of the course. For that matter, learning outcomes even do not indicate the methodologies that will be used by a teacher, to teach the subject matter to the students. Learning outcomes are actually desired outcomes in the form of what teachers expect from their students at the end of teaching in a course. These days’ teachers write down learning outcomes in the form of verbs that are measurable so as to avoid any confusion or misinterpretation.


What a faculty member covers during the duration of a course is defined as learning objectives. Objectives are always specific and measurable. They are also attainable and realistic. All objectives are desired ones, which mean, they reflect what students should be able to achieve by the end of the course. What the students will study, read, gain, and understand is the basis of learning objectives.

What is the difference between Outcomes and Objectives?

Learning outcomes and learning objectives must be clearly delineated and defined at the start of the course. If this is not done at the outset, both the creativity of the faculty and the responsibility of the faculty get affected thus making development of curriculum a very difficult task. Objectives are what a teacher sets out to teach while outcomes are what is expected of students at the end of the course. Practically speaking, outcomes should be identical to objectives if the faculty has indeed taught everything in such a manner that students have grasped everything and able to attain the level of proficiency that the teacher has desired.