Writing Learning Objectives

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					Writing Learning Objectives

             Gerunda B. Hughes, Ph.D.
             Director of OIAE
             Teresa M. Redd, Ph.D.
             Director of CETLA

                          Dept. of Biology
                          January 2009
Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this workshop, you will be able to
  do the following:
   Define “learning objective.”
   Explain why learning objectives are important.
   Identify the components of a learning objective.
   Choose an appropriate verb for an objective.
   Convert poor objectives into good ones.
   Write appropriate learning objectives for your course.
What Are Learning Objectives?

Learning objectives are statements of specific
       measurable learning outcomes
    that students are realistically expected
            to attain in a given time.
What Learning Objectives are NOT

   Course descriptions
    e.g., “This course covers…”
   Course requirements
    e.g., “You must attend…”
   Course goals
    e.g., “The purpose of this course is to…”
   Course outlines
    e.g., a list of topics
General and Enabling Objectives
(course-level and unit-level)

   Construct and interpret biostatistical
    information from a frequency distribution.
    –   Differentiate between a closed and opened
        frequency distribution as well as a quantitative
        versus a qualitative frequency distribution.
    –   Represent data pictorially by use of a bar
        diagram, histogram, and a frequency polygon.
    –   Determine the skewness of a set of data by
        observing its frequency polygon or histogram.
Why Bother to Write Learning

   Objectives help             Objectives help
    teachers                     students
    –   communicate their        –   understand what
        expectations.                they should “get out
    –   select essential             of” and “put into” a
        content.                     course.
    –   design appropriate       –   take useful notes.
        activities and           –   study efficiently.
      Teaching-Learning-Assessment Cycle

                              Use of Results


Assessment &
                                   Learning Goals
How Can You Write a Good Learning

Four Components:
   Audience
    e.g., “The student will…” or “ You will…” or “Identify…”

   Behavior
    e.g., “List the characteristics…”

   Condition (optional)
    e.g., “Given lab instructions, the student will…”

   Degree (optional)
    e.g., “with 90% accuracy” or “according to OSHA regulations”
Choose the Right Verb

Three Domains:
   Cognitive: mental processes
   Affective: feelings, values, or
   Psychomotor: manual or physical
Choose the Right Verb

Six Levels:
 Knowledge: recognize, recall, label, list
 Comprehension: interpret, classify, explain
 Application: use, illustrate, demonstrate
 Analysis: differentiate, calculate, diagram
 Synthesis: combine, design, formulate
 Evaluate: critique, justify, recommend
Evaluate Your Learning Objective

“Smart” Criteria:
 Specific
 Measurable
 Action-oriented, Appropriate, and Aligned
 Realistic
 Time-framed
Revise Learning Objectives

Poorly written objectives        Well-written objectives
 This course will introduce        Describe the
  you to the General                 components of the
  Transcriptional Machinery of
  eukaryotes and their               General Transcriptional
  functions.                         Machinery of eukaryotes
 Major emphasis would be on         and their functions.
  understanding the regulatory      NOW YOU TRY IT.
  mechanism of plant growth
  and development by
  hormones, light, and
Interactive Exercise

   Discuss the learning objectives on your
    syllabus with a colleague.
   Use the rubric to evaluate your objectives
    and your colleagues’ objectives.
   Identify the domain (cognitive, affective,
    psychomotor) and level of your objectives
    (knowledge – evaluation).

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