A Learning Objective is an explicit statement that clearly expresses what the participant will be able to do as a result of a learning event. It states what knowledge, skills, or attitudes the learners will be able to exhibit following instruction. It specifically identifies observable behaviors the learners must demonstrate in order to confirm the intended learning took place.
A learning goal is a broad statement of a desired outcome that should result from an instructional program. A goal just describes a general outcome. It explains broad intentions of the course and does not contain specific achievements. Goals just describe what the participant will gain from the overall learning event, and not what they will actually be able to do. An example of a goal might be to “understand,” to “comprehend,” or to “appreciate.” Learning goals are intended to help focus on the long-range big picture.
Learning objectives, on the other hand, are specific, observable, and measurable learning outcomes. They are benchmarks by which to measure progress towards the achievement of the larger learning goal.
Learning objectives serve the following purposes:
A learning objective has three major components:
When creating a Learning Objective begin with the end goal in mind. First, identify the overall goal of the course. Then begin to write each Learning Objective as a step towards reaching that goal.
A Learning Objective is participant-centered and performance based. Therefore, it should focus on the learner’s performance and not instructor’s performance. It should also describe what participants will be able to do as a result of the learning event. It should have action verbs that describe a specific and observable behavior. Thus, find an observable action word that captures what the learner should be able to do at the completion of the learning.
A Learning Objective should describe conditions under which the participants will perform the behavior. Therefore, indicate the conditions under which the task will be performed. These conditions typically addresses time, place, resources, references, and circumstances.
A Learning Objective should describe the criteria that will be used to evaluate performance to determine what is acceptable. Thus, it must be measurable. The criteria should communicate the level of proficiency that is expected. The criteria should describe how the learner will be able to perform in terms of quality, quantity, and time measurements. Most importantly, it should be attainable.
Well-written Learning Objectives;