Have you ever been to one of our Distance Learning Instructional Design series? If so, you’ve probably heard me talk about learning objectives. Learning objectives are a great tool to use when building your course. Frankly, they are great to use period.
A learning objective is a description of a performance you want learners to be able to exhibit before you consider them proficient. It basically describes an intended result of instruction.
Learning objectives are both important for teacher and student. For the teacher, they are great in the selection of content and teaching strategies. Learning objectives also help in the development of assessments and the evaluation of student achievement. For the student, learning objectives provide a “road map” for learning. They also provide a clear idea on what students are going to be assessed on.
There are many tips and tricks that you can follow when creating learning objectives. However, the following steps are a good path to take when writing learning objectives:
1. Completes this sentence:
- Upon completion of this course/module, students will be able to (DO SOMETHING).
2. Begins with an action verb.
- The “Bloom’s Taxonomy Action Verbs” provide a list of action verbs to spur your creativity in choosing both a measurable and precise verb.
3. Precisely describes behavior that can be observed or evaluated, (is measurable).
There are a lot of different Taxonomies that educators use to create learning objectives. However, we as educators tend to go with Bloom’s Taxonomy. It’s been around for several decades and continues to be a great tool to use when creating learning objectives.
One thing to keep in mind when creating learning objectives for your course though, and I can’t stress this enough, is that your objectives must be measurable. The objectives you create must have some sort of measurable quality to them. They must also be measured and assessed via your course assessments as well. If you were to create learning objectives that couldn’t be measured by the assessments you give then you would create misalignment in your course. The materials, learning objectives, and assessments within your course need to support each other to be considered ‘aligned.’ In other words, everything in your course has to match up to everything else.
Also keep in mind that if you are striving for QM certification you must meet all five points in the learning objective standard (Standard 2). Learning objectives are no joke in an online setting. They provide the voice of the class. Your voice. Students will be looking to you for direction in an online setting, and using learning objectives go a long way in making that voice clear.
If you would like to learn more about learning objectives please feel free to sign up for our Distance Learning Instructional Design series! We host it about once or twice a semester (including Summer!). As more dates are added for our series, please check back here for more information on it.