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Writing Learning Objectives

Write learning objectives that:

  • Include a behavioral verb, i.e., an action verb that connotes an observable student behavior. For example, you can observe whether a student can “identify” or “explain” a concept, but you cannot observe whether a student understands something. Here are some sample objectives.  
    • Identify non-verbal and verbal barriers to communication.
    • Given the equation of a linear function, rewrite the equation in slope-intercept form.
    • Explain the assumptions and inherent weaknesses in present value calculations.
  • Describe what students will be able to do upon completion of the course; do not describe what the instructor or course will do. In addition, instructional activities are sometimes mistaken for objectives. For example, the following statements describe the instructor’s or course goals, or describe an instructional activity; they are not learning objectives.
    • Foster student awareness by exposing students to a wide variety of works in the arts and humanities.
    • Provide the students with a course of study covering topics in computer literacy, including the Internet.
    • Begin building a library of information in the selected organization.
    • Complete a self-assessment of interpersonal skills.
  • Target different kinds of learning. Refer to Bloom's Taxonomy and Revised Bloom's Taxonomy for information on the hierarchical categories of learning and verbs that connote those categories.
  • Use student-friendly language. You should post the objectives with your course materials as a guide for students.