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Creating instructional goals (learning objectives)

Your first step in designing a course using the Instructional Design Wizard is to define your learning goals for the course. This step breaks down into several tasks that you'll need to complete.

Setting goals for the course help you define the purpose of the course, where it fits in with other courses, the learning levels you are trying to target, and what skills and knowledge are you trying to give learners.

Defining the learning goals for your course has four sub-steps:

When you run the wizard, you can go back to previous steps to refine inputs, save progress to continue at a later time, create additional course modules, or refine existing modules.

Listing modules

The wizard uses modules in the same sense as the Content tool. They are learning units you can break the course into based on concept, time, objective, or other logical units.

You can copy and paste an existing list using TXT format or type them out yourself. You can also edit this list later if you want to.

Setting course competencies

Course competencies refer to the purpose and goals of the course. Developing specific goals provide a high degree of control over the outcome.

You can create competencies in the wizard, or pull them from the Competencies tool. Read more about competencies starting with Competencies.

If you are coming back to the wizard from an earlier session, you can edit or delete competencies in this step.

Setting learning objectives

Learning objectives are statements describing the observable knowledge or skills you expect learners to demonstrate as a result of the course.

Good learning objectives:

  • Focus on the learner.
  • Break down the task to observable cognitive processes.
  • Use action verbs.
  • Are measurable.

Writing learning objective statements typically includes:

  1. Stating the situation The conditions for learners to demonstrate learning, for example, "After this unit".
  2. Adding an action The action being the observable outcome being performed, for example, "recognize".
  3. Stating the measurable outcome The skill, knowledge, or experience learners should have, for example, "sentence structure of Mark Twain's writing".

For Example

  • After completing this lesson, the student will be able to (situation) recognize (action) foreshadowing in various works of literature (measurable outcome).
  • After this unit, the student will have (situation) analyzed (action) the sentence structure of Mark Twain's writing (measurable outcome).

You can link learning objectives to competencies, or leave them as independent learning objectives.

You must classify each learning objective according to Bloom’s Taxonomy for the cognitive domain. You can classify objectives for multiple learning levels, if appropriate.

Classifying learning objectives helps you establish what you expect learners to be able to do. This enables you to focus on that specific task, and provides more effective assessment and instruction for it. Not all courses need to focus on all learning levels.

Later steps of the wizard use your classifications to recommend appropriate assessment and content activities.

Defining module objectives

Module objectives are the sub-set of learning objectives that you associate with each module.

Choose the objectives that are appropriate for each module and add them in the order you expect learners to encounter them. Start with the most general/basic objectives first and put more specific/complex objectives toward the end of the module. Try not to address too many learning objectives in one module. This could make it difficult to sequence activities. Conversely, trying to cover the same learning objective in too many modules can potentially interrupt the sequence of activities that take learners towards achievement of the learning objective. If you're not satisfied with the sequences, you can reorder them or delete them later.

Consider the level of development you want to address and the scope of the information inherent in the topic. To focus the level of development, select a narrow set of learning levels, and to focus the extent of the subject area covered, adjust the learning objective statement.

Ask yourself, are there some objectives that are general to the entire module? You should place generic objectives, such as transferable skills and competencies, before subject specific objectives.

For Example

In the module Tools for Understanding Complex Situations, this is how you could order the objectives:

  • General objectives (at the beginning)
    • Learners use a combination of logic, analysis, and experience when solving problems.
    • Learners involve others in the problem-solving process.
    • Learners seek relevant information and identify key questions.
  • Subject specific objectives (sequenced)
    1. Learners should be able to recognize and define a complex scenario.
    2. Learners should be able to drill down into a variety of complex scenarios to find problems.
    3. Learners should be able to draw cause and effect diagrams as a method to display and analyze complex scenarios to identify problems.
    4. Learners should understand the general risk analysis and risk management processes.
    5. Learners should be able to apply the risk analysis and risk management processes to a variety of problems.