Writing Learning Objectives
Gerunda B. Hughes, Ph.D.
Director of OIAE
Teresa M. Redd, Ph.D.
Director of CETLA
Dept. of Biology
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
e.g., “This course covers…”
e.g., “You must attend…”
e.g., “The purpose of this course is to…”
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
– communicate their – understand what
expectations. they should “get out
– select essential of” and “put into” a
– design appropriate – take useful notes.
activities and – study efficiently.
Use of Results
How Can You Write a Good Learning
e.g., “The student will…” or “ You will…” or “Identify…”
e.g., “List the characteristics…”
e.g., “Given lab instructions, the student will…”
e.g., “with 90% accuracy” or “according to OSHA regulations”
Choose the Right Verb
Cognitive: mental processes
Affective: feelings, values, or
Psychomotor: manual or physical
Choose the Right Verb
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
Action-oriented, Appropriate, and Aligned
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
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).