Office of Education Development and Gateway Education

What are Action Verbs?

Action Verb An Action Verb expresses achievements or what a person does in a concise and observable manner. Intended learning outcomes contain an action verb which identifies what it is a learner can do after successfully completing the course. Action verbs are often organised into a hierarchical structure or levels such as in the SOLO (Structured Observed Learning Outcomes) or Bloom's Taxonomy.

Organising the verbs into a structure helps us classify learning outcomes according to their perceived complexity and decide on appropriate teaching and learning activities and assessment tasks. For example, making a list or describing something is generally seen as a less complex task than generating a new theory from existing concepts. More detailed information is available from the City University OBTL website.