Writing Learning Objectives
When designing a course it is important to know what you want students to achieve during the semester. Ideally, students who receive a passing grade should master a set of skills they can take with them and apply in future coursework or in their career or discipline upon graduation.
We use a variety of assessments to measure whether students have mastered these skills, but it’s important during the design stage to make sure that your assessments do in fact measure each of these skills, and that the assessment is able to confirm whether students have achieved mastery.
Writing learning objectives that are specific, measurable, and student-centered allows the creation of assignments, tests, and projects which are well-aligned with the skills you expect the students to master, and are an effective framework to use when designing a course from scratch, or in translating a course from one medium (e.g., face-to-face) to another (e.g., blended environment, or fully online).
It is helpful to revisit your learning objectives from semester to semester, even for established courses. Course design is an iterative process, and there is always room to evolve and improve upon an existing course. We recommend taking some time at the beginning and end of every semester to review your course learning objectives and to examine what improvements you may be able to make to better align your course content with the expectations you have for your students.
Module 3 of UF’s Faculty Institute focuses on Goals and Objectives. You can sign up for the Faculty Institute (an online eLearning course).
Why do I need to write objectives?
- Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives,
- Developing Objectives and Relating them to Assessment,
- Objectives: Action Verbs with Examples,
- Writing Objectives Using Bloom’s Taxonomy
Carnegie Mellon’s Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation offers sample learning objectives for courses in the following areas:
- Engineering & Technology
- Fine Arts
- Humanities & Social Sciences
Mager, Robert F. (1997). Preparing Instructional Objectives, Third Edition, Atlanta, Georgia: The Center for Effective Performance, Inc.