Family & Community Medicine

Tips & Guidelines

Writing Learning Objectives

All scholarly abstracts must be submitted with 2 to 3 learning objectives. According to Association of American Medical Colleges, “establishing learning objectives to guide the design, content, and conduct of an educational program is an important principle supported by educational theory and practice”. In addition to CME, learning objectives will help the audience evaluate your presentation. A Learning Object is a clear, concise and specific statement of behaviors that can be evaluated at the conclusion of the learning activity. The learning objective should:

  1. Describe to learners what the content is valued and what is expected
  2. Specifies the desired outcomes
  3. Assesses the learners’ performance and if the presentation was effective


When writing a Learning Objective focus on learner performance aimed at the terminal behavior that is expected and it should have one learning outcome. The Learning Objective generally begins with an introductory stem (“At the conclusion of this presentation”) followed by bulleted statements starting with a verb followed by specific outcome.


At the conclusion of this presentation, you will be able to:

  • Recognize the reasons for writing a learning objective
  • Identify the components of a learning objective

By writing learning objectives the presenter is selecting the content, guiding the presentation, assessing learner performance and evaluating the presentation. A clear learning object identifies the desired outcome of the educational offering and stresses the ‘take-away message’.

Below are sample verbs that can be observed and measured:


Knowledge Comprehension Application Analysis Synthesis Evaluation
Define Classify Apply Analyze Arrange Assess
Identify Compile Calculate Calculate Assemble Compare
Label Conclude Demonstrate Categorize Compose Critique
List Discuss Develop Classify Construct Decide
Recognize Describe Interpret Contrast Diagnose Evaluate
Select Summarize Predict Examine Propose recommend

Words to Avoid

  • Appreciate
  • Approach
  • Know
  • Believe
  • Increase
  • Understand
  • Improve
  • Become
  • Learn
  • Grow


  • Anderson, BM. Report I Learning Objectives for Medical Student Education-Guidelines for Medical Schools Washington, DC: AAMC 1998.
  • Marshall University Joan C Edwards School of Medicine, Continuing Medical Education
  • Northeast Ohio Medical University, Continuing Medical Education Program


Joanne Fabick
Administrative Coordinator
Phone: 330.325.6770

Department Chair

John Boltri, M.D.
Phone: 330.325.6787

Department of Family & Community Medicine

College of Medicine at NEOMED