Laurel and Associates, Ltd. – Madison, WI

Tip #103: Learning Objectives

Tip #103: Learning Objectives

On February 8, 2006, Posted by , In curriculum design, By ,, , With Comments Off on Tip #103: Learning Objectives

The fifth step in the comprehensive nine step LESSON PLANning Process is:

STEP 5. ORGANIZE THE LEARNING OBJECTIVES.

Learning objectives explain in specific and measurable terms what the learner will do as a result of the class instruction to: (a) learn specific knowledge or skills and (b) demonstrate that they have learned them.

Objectives are behavioral, which means that they involve specific actions or behaviors that can be observed and measured.

The effectiveness of the training will be determined based on whether or not the participants exhibit these behaviors during and after the training session.

When we add an active verb (appropriate for the learning level) to the essential content, we need to be sure that it is specific, observable, and measurable. For example, the following verbs are inappropriate because they are too vague and unclear to be particularly useful: process, care, learn, worry, understand, sense, believe, be aware, empathize, think, remember, feel, perceive, assume, try, focus, see, consider, and be familiar with. A more active verb will better describe the participant behavior and make it easier to measure or validate their performance.

At this step, we:

  1. Select action verbs appropriate for the identified learning levels. *
  2. Convert the essential factors into learner actions which are specific, observable, and measurable, using the learning level-appropriate action verbs. (These learner actions are the learning objectives).
  3. Ensure that there are sufficient learning objectives to accomplish all of the training goals.
  4. Ensure that the sequence of learner actions progresses through the levels of learning, where appropriate.
  5. If safety is a consideration, ensure that there is a learning objective that checks for comprehension prior to a learning objective that provides for application.
  6. Remedy any gaps in the logical sequence of events by adding in the missing learning objectives.

*There is a useful list of active verbs that can be used to signify different learning levels. The list is not exhaustive, so it does not include all possible verbs that might be appropriate.

KnowledgeComprehensionApplication
citeassociateapply
countcomparecalculate
definecontrastclassify
identifyconvertchange
indicatedefendcomplete
labeldescribecompute
listdifferentiatedemonstrate
matchdiscussillustrate
namedistinguishmanipulate
outlineestimatemodify
recognizeexplainoperate
recordextendpredict
reproduceextrapolateprepare
selectgeneralizeproduce
stategiverelate
tabulateexemplifyshow
traceinfersolve
writeinterprettabulate
interpolatetranscribe
paraphraseuse
predictutilize
translate

Analysis

Synthesis

Evaluation

analyzearrangeappraise
break downcategorizeassess
detectcombinecompare
diagramcompileconclude
differentiatecomposecontrast
discriminateconstructcriticize
distinguishcreatecritique
groupdevisediscriminate
illustratedesignevaluate
infergenerategrade
outlinemodifyjustify
point outorganizeinterpret
relateoutlinemeasure
selectplanpredict
separaterearrangeprescribe
subdividereconstructrank
summarizerelatetest
transformreorganizerecommend
revisevalidate
rewriteverify
summarize
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