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

Thursday, May 19, 2011

5 Reasons We Have Chapters Reviewed by Experts

So, you're written a few chapters in your textbook and they've been fine-tuned by a developmental editor. Now what?

Now come the chapter reviews.

We'll send your manuscript to a number of experts for their feedback, and we'll pay close attention to what they say. That's because a manuscript review serves different purposes than a proposal review. Here are five of those purposes.

1. Check for clinical accuracy

The most important reason to obtain manuscript reviews from subject matter experts is to make sure that all the clinical content is fully accurate. Yes, you're authoring a book, and yes, you're an expert too, don't worry, no one can take that away from you.

Here's the thing. Whatever you write in the book, when it's finally published, will be the Word. And the Word will be yours. And so will the lion's share of the responsibility for errors in those Words.

We do our part, certainly, and we want to help do your part too. So we show your Words to people who can best point out where they might be confusing, incomplete, or inaccurate.

Even if they misread some Words and think you've made an error but actually you haven't, that's good too. It tells us where there are slight hiccups in the writing, so we can smooth them over.

All praise the Reviewers!

2. Double-check features and flow

You know all those wonderful features you planned to include in the book—key terms, themed sidebars, case studies, whatever? Well, we want to see if they actually work and do what we intend them to do.

If the reviewers confirm what we thought, yay for us. If not, we can fix the issues and move ahead.

3. Verify the vision

When you set out to write your book, you and your acquisitions editor formed a clear idea of what the book would be, who it was for, and what would make it stand out above the crowd. Now it's time to make sure we stuck to that vision or, if we didn't, to make sure our deviations made sense.

4. Procure promotional points of view

The reviewers love your book, don't they? Of course they do. We use manuscript reviews to obtain quotes we can use in promotional materials and give to our sales reps, so they better understand the key sales points about the book and how best to sell it.

When you have a reviewer write something like, "This is an extremely well-written text, and I can't wait to adopt it"—that's gold.

5. Seed the market

Manuscript reviews also help potential adopters become invested in the product. If they think their feedback is helping, if they think we really listen to it and make adjustments accordingly—and believe me, we do—a kind of emotional bond can begin to form between the book and the reviewer.

It takes time, but it pays off. When the book publishes, those reviewers will be more likely to adopt the book and recommend it to their colleagues at other schools.

And you can take those Words to the bank.