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Learning Objectives

Overview

According to Quality Matters, a Learning Objective is "a statement of the specific and measurable knowledge, skills, attitudes, and habits learners are expected to achieve and demonstrate as a result of their educational experiences in a program, course, or module."  You will often hear these also referred to as Learning Outcomes.

Pedagogical Rationale

Well-articulated learning objectives are important for both you and your students to get a clear sense of what’s to be learned in the course. You need to have measurable course and unit learning objectives written from the student’s perspective, which clearly and precisely describe what students are able to do by the end of the course. Course learning objectives need to be aligned with master course learning objectives. The unit learning objectives need to be consistent with the course-level learning objectives. The learning objectives need to be suited to the level of the course and the relationship between learning objectives and course activities need to be clearly stated.

In the upcoming pages, we will introduce Bloom's Taxonomy as one strategy for writing effective Learning Objectives/Outcomes and provide examples. You'll also notice that we provide example activities that then align with these outcomes. By writing effective outcomes first, it is easier to determine what types of activities students might complete to demonstrate their abilities to achieve the outcomes.

Bloom's Taxonomy

It's a scheme of classification in how people learn. It categorizes the tiers of learning such as remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating. 

Writing Learning Objectives Using Bloom's

You can use it to write clear, actionable, and measurable learning outcomes for your program, course, and learning activities such as assignments and assessments. We call them strong learning objectives. Aligning Learning Objectives not only helps ensure the accountability but helps you design a course efficiently. 

For an example of a Learning Objective (LO) for an English class

1. You may have a course level LO:

"After completing this course, students will be able to demonstrate [ANALYZING level in Bloom's taxonomy] the influence of female authors in the 19th century English literature."

2. Then, you may have a modular level LO, such as:

"After completing this module, students will be able to list [REMEMBERING level in Bloom's taxonomy] at least ten female writers and their works in the 19th century English literature."

3. Based on the modular level LO, you can assign an activity of:

  • Providing examples
  • Short answer test

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