I just finished reading the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and liked Habit #2 in particular: Begin with the end in mind. I felt it relates perfectly to our e-learning objectives. That is what our learning objectives should begin with – the end objectives – they should convey to learners what they should be able to do after completing the online e-learning course.
Tips to set effective learning objectives
- Keep learning objectives simple and avoid lengthy paragraphs
- Gather information on the current knowledge levels of learners
- Identify the preferred language style of learners
- Specify the performance, condition, and criteria
- Communicate the intent of the learning objective using an appropriate action verb
I would like to share a few tips for creating effective learning objectives.
A Few Tips to Create Effective Learning Objectives
Keep your learning objectives simple, brief, and avoid long paragraphs. Since simple language is straight and appealing, limiting your learning objectives to a single sentence will help your learners concentrate better on what is expected of them. Moreover, it allows learners understand the learning objective better.
Consider the following questions when developing objectives for your e-learning content. These questions help you keep your learning objectives grounded.
- What should the learners learn?
- What is the learners’ level of current knowledge and skill on the content or topic?
- Do learners have any background experience on the content or topic?
- What is the language level and style of language that learners prefer?
- Do learners have any major misconceptions about the content or topic?
The objectives of the e-learning course should be able to communicate its intent and leave very little space for interpretation. Select an appropriate action word or verb to describe the required behavior of the objective. Use Bloom’s Taxonomy of cognitive behavior for this. Some examples of helpful verbs include: Define, list, identify, recall, describe, diagram, draw, discuss, explain, analyze, compare, predict, relate, critique, examine, debate, interpret, illustrate, etc.
Your objectives should communicate the intent of your course and specify three main things.
- Performance: An objective must always state what a learner is expected to do after taking up the course.
- Condition: An objective must describe the condition under which the learner is to perform the given task.
- Criterion: The objective may state how well a learner must perform the given task as it provides a standard to check whether the performance is acceptable.
To check whether what you have stated as a learning objective is relevant, ask yourself: “Is this what I want the learners to be able to do after completing this e-learning course?” Every activity and assessment must be connected to the learning objectives, as it ensures that the objective is being achieved.
“You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.” – Clay P. Bedford
These are a few tips I use while creating learning objectives for e-learning courses. If you have any, please do share your thoughts.