Tag Archives: Course Objectives

Writing Course Goals and Learning Objectives – Teaching Commons

An article clearly defining the difference between course goals and learning objectives, and why learning objectives matter:

Writing Course Goals and Learning Objectives – Teaching Commons.

Using Bloom’s Taxonomy to Write Objectives

A helpful way to think about writing objectives is to measure them against a revised version of Bloom’s Taxonomy (2001). In 1956, Benjamin Bloom headed a group of educational psychologists who developed a classification of levels of intellectual behavior important in learning. During the 1990’s a new group of cognitive psychologist, led by Lorin Anderson (a former student of Bloom’s), updated the taxonomy reflecting relevance to 21st century work. The action verbs in column 2 of this chart are good starting points for objectives:

Remembering: Can the student recall or remember the information? define, duplicate, list, memorize, recall, repeat, reproduce, state
Understanding: Can the student explain ideas or concepts? classify, describe, discuss, explain, identify, locate, recognize, report, select, translate, paraphrase
Applying: Can the student use the information in a new way? choose, demonstrate, dramatize, employ, illustrate, interpret, operate, schedule, sketch, solve, use, write.
Analyzing: Can the student distinguish between the different parts? appraise, compare, contrast, criticize, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, examine, experiment, question, test.
Evaluating: Can the student justify a stand or decision? appraise, argue, defend, judge, select, support, value, evaluate
Creating: Can the student create new product or point of view? assemble, construct, create, design, develop, formulate, write.

Adapted from http://www.odu.edu/educ/roverbau/Bloom/blooms_taxonomy.htm

Richard C. Overbaugh and
Lynn Schultz,
Old Dominion University

How to Write Achievable Learning Objectives

Best practices suggest that learning objectives appear in the introductory materials of every online course. In a course that is divided into numerous sections, such as “topics” or “weeks,” each individual course section should also have its own objectives, clearly stated on the Intro page of each lesson.

Learning, or performance, objectives identify the specific knowledge, skill, or attitude the student should gain and display as a result of the course. They should clearly identify achievable, measurable goals. Strong performance objectives contain three elements:

  •   Condition: Specifies what the learner will need to accomplish prior to attempting the response.
    Example: “At the completion of this lesson, you will be able to:
”
  •   Student Performance: An observable behavior a student must perform to demonstrate that the lesson is learned. This requires an action verb that is observable and measurable. (A selection of effective action verbs are provided below.)
  • Criterion: The accuracy level assigned to the activity.

If criterion is omitted, the performance is assumed to be 100% – pass/fail. In other words, if the student hasn’t completed the performance perfectly, the student has not acceptably mastered the content.

Example:
After completion of this lesson, students will be able to:
• open a new file and record a drum track using Audacity
• explain how to layer multiple instruments on a single drum track
• create a drum track that uses eighths, sixteenths, and dotted quarter notes