Students should know the historically important systems of psychology.
This is poor because it says neither what systems nor what information about each system students should know. Are they supposed to know everything about them or just names? Should students be able to recognize the names, recite the central ideas, or criticize the assumptions?
Students should know the psychoanalytic, Gestalt, behaviorist, humanistic, and cognitive approaches to psychology.
This is better because it says what theories students should “know”, but it still does not detail exactly what they should “know” about each theory, or how deeply they should understand whatever it is they should understand.
Students should be able to recognize and articulate the foundational assumptions, central ideas, and dominant criticisms of the psychoanalytic, Gestalt, behaviorist, humanistic, and cognitive approaches to psychology.
This is the clearest and most specific statement of the three examples. It clarifies how one is to demonstrate that he/she “knows”. It provides even beginning students an understandable and very specific target to aim for. It provides faculty with a reasonable standard against which they can compare actual student performance.
Source: UMD Libraries, Learning Outcomes