learning objectives

Tips for writing learning objectives that focus learners and attract new students

Blogs can be compared to short courses, as a well written blog provides micro bites of learning. Blogs normally have a focus, something the blogger think’s that you will want to know or understand, something of value.  The learning objectives are sometimes referred to in the title of the post.  But if bloggers were to include learning objectives at the start of each post, I bet we would come across a few of these:

“In this blog:

You will learn about Blooms Three Domains of Learning

You will be able to pick verbs for learning objectives

I will tell you what verbs to avoid”

Does this look familiar to you?

Learning objectives are a crucial part of a course and should not be over looked when developing a training program or online course.  Learning objectives serve a number of important purposes. They encourage good course design and development, they let the learner know what is of importance, they give focus to both the learner and instructor, then enable strong development of assessment and they encourage reflection by both the learner and instructor. They also aid in attracting new students to a course. Learning objective may form one of the first forms of communication between a learner and an instructor. So to help you get this right, I have two top tips for writing course learning objectives:

Tip 1 – Select accurate descriptive verbs that will excite and attract learners

When writing learning objectives, it is important to know that there are 3 different kinds of learning.

  • You can learn about facts and things that need to be “Known” which is referred to as Knowledge. This is something they’ll think/know/understand.
  • You can learn about things that you can “Do” which is referred to as Skills. This is an ability they student will develop.
  • You can learn about things you can touch and feel, referred to as Attitude. This is an emotion or value they will carry.

The three of these together KSA are referred to Bloom’s three domains of learning.

So why is this important when writing learning objectives?  Well if you can establish the type of learning the student will do – Is it an understanding?  Is it an ability or skill? or is it a value? We can then choose an accurate and descriptive a behaviour or verb to use in the learning objective.

You can find a fantastic list of verbs here to choose from:  This PDF is list verbs for each of the three domains of learning (KSA).

Tip 2 – Avoid course learning objectives that can be not measured.

Learning objectives should be measurable.  A learning objective such as “Understand Bloom’s three domains of learning” is not measurable.  How can you measure understanding, without defining the level of understanding required? Is understanding the ability to recall a list? or is understanding the ability to differentiate between the 6 levels of knowledge? Other words such as know and learn should also be avoided as they cannot be measured.

So as a blogger, should I write some learning objectives for this blog I think it would read

“At the end of this blog post you will be able to:

List and Distinguish between the 3 different kinds of learning referred to as Blooms three domains of learning

Choose an accurate, descriptive & measurable verb, based on the kind of learning in your course, to include in your course learning objective

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