I have no clue about others but when I, as an instructional designer develop an eLearning course, would surely consider the learning objectives to be the first priority. A learning objective can be defined as a statement or a combination of statements that describes what the learners are expected to learn from the course. It helps the instructional designers to get clarity on what to include in the course and what instructional strategy to be used.
Hence, I would prefer to spend a quality time in framing the learning objectives as I would want my learners to enhance their performance rather than missing the track.
Let us see some essentials for crafting effective learning objectives:
Understand the Need for Learning Objectives: We talk lot about creating interesting and engaging eLearning courses, but do we ever talk about how the course would be relevant to the learners taking it? This is where the necessity of the learning objectives is felt. If the learners don’t find the course relevant, it becomes hard for the instructional designers to keep them motivated. Hence, to overcome this, you need to tell the learners in the beginning of the course itself what they would learn after completing the course and set clear learning objectives.
How to Present Learning objectives: When I started my first eLearning project, I realized that learning objectives are the building blocks of any course. They are the primary things to be placed in the first screen of the course. I learnt that there is no need to fill the screen with lots of learning objectives, instead keep them brief and meaningful, so as to be easily understood by the learners. Besides, there is a need to ensure that the learning objectives comprise of the three main components:
- Performance – describes the behavior the learners are able to perform
- Condition – describes the circumstances under which the performance will be carried out
- Criterion – describes the criteria for acceptance of performance
Ensuring these three components in your learning objectives would set the stage for the learners to take up the course with great zeal.
Craft Meaningful Learning Objectives: It doesn’t matter which profession you are in; chances are that you might face some obstacles in your work area thus requiring you to take up the training to overcome the obstacles. Crafting learning objectives depends on the profession and the type of learners taking the e-learning course. For example, setting the learning objectives for the learners taking a compliance training course would be different from those taking a safety training course. The learners taking the online course on compliance training would just need to know their organization’s policies and principles, whereas the employees taking the safety training course need to apply the knowledge in their work area. Hence, it is very essential for the instructional designer to set the objectives accordingly.
Align the Learning objectives with the Assessments: Learning objectives set the foundation for presenting the content and creating assessments for effective learning. You can also say that the learning objectives and assessments go hand-in-hand. What you want your learners to do is the objective and how do you know your learners got what you gave is the assessment. Hence, aligning the assessments with the learning objectives ensures that the learners are onboard with the e-learning course and that the learning outcomes are achieved. Be sure that you assess your learners on the basis of the learning objectives you have set for them. There is no point in checking your learners’ knowledge on the content, which is not taught in the online learning course. Hence, you need to ensure that you align your assessments with the learning objectives and thus present a good learning experience to your learners.
This was my knowledge on creating learning objectives. Would be glad to hear more from you.