Tuesday, May 24, 2011

3 Steps to Help You Write Better Learning Objectives

Writing clear, concise, and effective learning objectives or outcomes can be a tricky business. Each objective should begin with an action verb that fits the level of learning being tested. Here's a step-by-step approach to writing them.

#1  Base them on Bloom's

Start by basing the objectives on Bloom's Taxonomy, listed here in ascending order of complexity, from the simplest level to the most complex:

  • Remembering: Recalling information
  • Understanding: Explaining a new concept
  • Applying: Using information in a new way
  • Analyzing: Differentiating between different parts
  • Evaluating: Supporting a stand or decision
  • Creating: Devising a new product or point of view
Click to enlarge.

#2  Write a stem

The stem sets up each objective and outlines the task and timetable. Here are a few examples:
  • After completing the lesson, the student will be able to:
  • By completing the assigned activities, the student will demonstrate the ability to:
  • At the conclusion of the course/unit/study, the student will:

#3 Action!

Using an action verb, list the actual product, process, or outcome. Like so:
  • identify key structures of the cardiovascular system
  • discuss the roles of the heart, arteries and veins as a part of the cardiovascular system
  • list common infectious diseases
  • identify the links in the chain of infection
  • differentiate between the stages of disease
  • describe the body's defense mechanisms
  • demonstrate the performance of hand washing with soap and water
  • demonstrate the performance of hand sanitization with an alcohol-based hand rub

Helpful verbs

Here's a handy guide to help you come up with just the write verb to start off your objective.

Adapted from www.educationoasis.com