Learning Outcomes

Too often, when we catechists plan for our lessons, we concentrate on what it is that WE will be doing. “I’ll cover chapter 10, then play Jeopardy to review the main points of the lesson, then I’ll lead prayer, and so on…” It’s important to remember that, in our planning, the focus should be on what the participants will be doing. Today, most catechist manuals use the phrase learning outcomes to identify what the participants should be able to know or do as a result of a lesson. Some may use the word objectives, however, that tends to be more teacher-focused. Here is a nifty chart that helps to identify different levels of learning outcomes.

If you want your participants to . .

Use keywords such as the following in your learning outcomes.

Example: After this lesson, the participants will be able to . . .

recognize or recall facts and information and knowledge


list describe

define repeat

fill in label

name identify

list the seven sacraments.

demonstrate an understanding (comprehension)

paraphrase explain

review match

discuss interpret

explain the meaning of the symbol of water in baptism.

apply what is learned to new situations


apply construct

draw simulate

sketch predict


draw a picture of an experience of reconciliation in their lives.

pick out important points


classify distinguish

differentiate compare

contrast categorize

separate break down

categorize the seven

sacraments into Sacraments of Initiation, Sacraments of Healing, and Sacraments at the Service of Communion.

combine concepts into something new (synthesis)

combine relate

put together integrate

assemble collect

assemble a prayer aid for the celebration of one of the seven sacraments.

judge and evaluate ideas based on standards


judge argue

assess appraise

decide defend

rate debate

evaluate choose

evaluate a sample homily for a confirmation Mass in relation to its use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the symbols of the bishop, or the symbols of the rite of confirmation.

About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

2 Comments on Learning Outcomes

  1. Wow! Great tool for catechists! Many Catholics are fearful of stepping forward to become catechists due to “lack of teaching skills.” This is an easy “formula” to help them plan their time with the children. Thanks, Joe, for continually making this site so useful! I will be certain to share this at our catechist kick-off meeting this year!

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