Three Parts of an Objective

The Three Parts of an Objective

describe what a participant will be able to demonstrate in terms of knowledge, skills, and/or values upon completion of a learning event.  The creation and clear articulation of learning objective serves as the foundation for evaluating the effectiveness of the learning process.


Three Parts of an Objective

Every learning objective should contain at least three parts:

  • Performance
  • Conditions
  • Criteria


Performance – Indicates what participants are expected to do as a result of the learning activity

Conditions – Specifies under what conditions the participants should perform

Criteria – Identifies how well the participants have to perform to satisfy the requirements



A learning objective is participant-centered and performance based. It should describe what participants will be able to do as a result of the learning event. You want to answer the question “What should the participant to be able to do as a result of the learning event?”


Action Verb

Since you are describing what participants will be able to do as a result of the learning event, the statement should have an action verb. That action verb should best describe the type of behavior that the participant needs to display.


One Verb

Each objective should address just one behavior. Therefore, only one verb should be used for each learning objective. If there are more than one behaviors that need to be displayed, then the objective should be broken down into one or more enabling objectives that support the main terminal objective.


Observable Behavior

The verb you use should be an action that is observable. The only way you can determine whether or not a participant has learned something is to observe some kind of behavior that indicates learning has taken place. You want to be able to see the results. Verbs such as “understand,” “know,” or “comprehend” are not easily observable and should be avoided.

Possible action verbs include; list, identify, explain, describe, calculate, compare, demonstrate, and analyze.


NOTE: When creating learning objectives consult Blooms Taxonomy for a full list of observable action verbs. Bloom’s list of verbs for writing learning objectives





A learning objective should describe conditions under which the participants will perform the behavior.  The conditions under which the task will be performed typically addresses time, place, resources, and circumstances.


You want to answer the questions:

“What will you give the person to use?”

“What will the environment be?”


Possible conditions include;

  • using a calculator
  • referencing a chart
  • while being monitored
  • using a drill and saw
  • in 10 feet of water
  • on a boat
  • in the daylight




A learning objective should describe the criteria that will be used to evaluate performance to determine what is acceptable. The criteria should communicate the level of proficiency that is expected. It might describe how the learner will be able to perform in terms of quality, quantity, and/or time measurements.


You may want to answer the questions:

“How many?”

“How fast?”

“How well?”


There can be more than one measurable criterion. You may create a time criteria as well as a proficiently criteria. For example, a participant may be required to complete 10 functions within 20 minutes with 80% or more accuracy.


Possible standards include;

  • within 10 minutes
  • within acceptable industry guidelines
  • 80% or better
  • assembling 15 items
  • in compliance with a chart



Additional Links

Learning Objectives

Writing Learning Objectives

Creating Learning Objectives

Components of Learning Objectives

Terminal Objectives



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