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Learning Objectives

In education, learning objectives are brief statements that describe what students should be able to do by the end of a unit, module, project, or lecture. In the PharmD program, learning objectives are the interim academic goals that educators establish for students who are working toward meeting more comprehensive course or curriculum level standards.

How to write Learning Objectives:

  1. We start with a stem. E.g. After completing the module, the student will be able to . . .
  2. After the stem, we add an action verb: analyze, recognize, compare, provide, list, etc. (For a list of action verbs, see below)
  3. Once you have a stem and an action verb, determine the actual product, process, or outcome: “After completing this module, the student will be able to outline the time-frame to develop a NP into a drug.”

Other examples from PHA5439: Principles of Medicinal Chemistry & Pharmacology I 

  1. Upon completion of this module, you will be able to categorize natural products by their biosynthetic origin.
  2. Upon completion of this module, you will be able to explain why the ocean is (one of) the most promising source of (natural products) drugs.
  3. Upon completion of this module, you will be able to list the unique challenges to marine drug discovery.

Action Verbs for Learning Objectives:

Retrieval and Application of Knowledge




Define Express Use
Repeat Restate Employ
Name Identify Interpret
Recall Explain Dramatize
List Recognize Sketch
Relate Discuss Practice
Record Describe Illustrate
Underline Tell Apply
Label Summarize Solve
Critical Thinking




Compare Design Judge
Distinguish Plan Appraise
Differentiate Compose Estimate
Diagram Formulate Evaluate
Analyze Construct Score
Categorize Create Rate
Contrast Manage Measure
Debate Predict Assess
Classify Collect Compare