For every eLearning course, learning objectives are vital and framing proper learning objectives is an acid test to the instructional designers (IDs).
What are learning objectives?
Learning objectives are the statements which explain what the learner will achieve after completing the course. These statements define what the learner will be able to perform after completing the course. That’s the reason they are also called ‘Performance Objectives’ or ‘Behavioral Objectives’.
Learning objectives should:
- Be clear and specific
- Align with content
- Be measurable in terms of eLearning (as eLearning has some limitations when compared to the classroom training)
Example: By the end of the program, participants will be able to describe the top five features of a product.
This learning objective is very specific and measurable, you can teach the top 5 product features and measure the top 5 features.
Prerequisite to write good learning objectives
Content comprehension – The ID must understand the entire content/inputs and be able to identify the broad learning outcomes that are expected from the eLearning course.
What does an ideal learning objective contain?
According to Robert Mager, an ideal learning objective should contain three components:
- Performance – What should the participants be able to do?
- Conditions – Under what conditions do you want the participants to be able to do it?
- Criterion – How well must it be done?
Steps to wite learning objectives
Step 1: Create a stem
The stem or how you start a learning objective is important. Here you can address the learner and tell when they will achieve the objectives (after completing the unit, lesson, etc.
- After completing the lesson, you will be able to …
- On completion of this unit, you will be able to …
- By the end of this course, you will be able to …
Step 2: Add a verb to the stem
Action verb is critical for the learning objective. It should be measurable in terms of eLearning. You can always refer to the ‘Bloom’s Taxonomy‘ for choosing the appropriate verbs.
- After completing the lesson, you will be able to list …
- On completion of this unit, you will be able to explain …
- By the end of this course, you will be able to identify …
Step 3: Determine the actual product, process, or outcome
You should define the process, procedure, or outcome the learner will achieve after completing the course.
- After completing the lesson, you will be able to list the steps to shutdown the computer.
- On completion of this unit, you will be able to explain the communication process.
- By the end of this course, you will be able to identify the key steps in project management.
After understanding the inputs, these are the 3 simple steps that I follow to write learning objectives. Feel free to share how you frame learning objectives.