Learning objectives are statements that specify what students will know or be able to do as a result of a learning activity. Objectives are usually expressed as knowledge, skills, or attitudes. Learning objectives should deal with the gap between an existing condition and a desired condition – what the learner needs to know or have the ability to do that they do not presently know or have the ability to do. Learning objectives represent the solution to an identified need or issue. In the case of a hybrid course, the learning objectives should point the student towards the knowledge and skills needed to move beyond this course and be successful in the next course. Learning objectives provide direction in the planning of each learning activity.
They help to do the following:
Learning objectives specify what you want your students to learn, do or produce as a result of taking your course. Having clearly stated learning objectives does the following:
In short, clear goals and objectives are essential for high-quality course development.
Before writing your outcome statements you should consider the following key questions about the learner’s needs.
The ultimate test of a learning objective–at least in terms of its clarity and effectiveness–is whether the student’s attainment of the objective can be observed and measured. If not, the objective probably is unclear and ineffective.
If you suspect a learning objective is unclear, or you are having a hard time writing a learning objective, ask yourself if the objective can be measured. Note the following examples:
Learning Objective 1: Students will understand the nine reasons for conducting a needs assessment.
Understanding in and of itself is not a measurable commodity. Changing the learning objective to something like the following makes it measurable:
Learning Objective 1: List the nine reasons for conducting a needs assessment.
This objective requires students to produce a list that can be measured for accuracy.
Learning Objective 2: Participants will develop an appreciation of cultural diversity in the workplace.
Again, developed appreciation is not measurable.
Learning Objective 2: Explain the benefits of cultural diversity in the workplace.
With clear and measurable learning objectives your students will have a better idea of what is expected of them.
Since the learner’s performance should be observable and measurable, you should choose an action verb for each objective statement which results in overt behavior that you can observe and measure. Action verbs are words such as the following:
(compile, create, plan, revise, analyze, design, select, utilize, apply, demonstrate, prepare, use, compute, discuss, explain, predict, assess, compare, rate, critique)
Certain verbs are unclear and subject to different interpretations in terms of what action they are specifying. Such verbs call for covert behavior which cannot be observed or measured. You should avoid the following types of verbs:
(know, become aware of, appreciate, learn, understand, become familiar with.)