Thursday, July 1, 2010

Week 2: More Information About Learning Objectives!

While I was searching for information about learning objectives and how to write them, I found many valuable things. Please let me share them with you.

Every time we write an objective, we ask ourselves: Is this an objective or a goal? Actually, the use of the terms “Goals” and “Objectives” can be confusing. Is there a difference?  Of course, there is. Here is a comparison between the two terms:


Broad Statements
General Intentions
Generally hard to measure


Thus, the goal of a learning activity is like a target and the objectives are the arrows that help the learner reach the target and demonstrate mastery. Of course, this means that all what we should focus on is the behavior we expect from the learner. In other words, the learning objective defines what the learner will know or be able to do at the end of every lesson. That’s why it is very important to write the objectives clearly in a manner that is easily understood and measured.

One of the models that can be used to write the objectives clearly is the ABCD Model.
This model consists of 4 elements:


The objective does not have to be written in this order (ABCD), but it should contain all of these elements. Here is a detailed description for these elements:

1. Audience: 

Here we identify who will be learning (not the instructor), e.g., the learners, students, readers, participants, trainees, …etc.

2. Behavior (Performance):
It should include an action verb indicating what the learner will do. We always ask ourselves: What type of behavior do we want? Actually behaviors for learning objectives fall into three domains: cognitive, psychomotor, and affective.

Cognitive Domain: 

It deals with the intellectual abilities of the learners. These are also called “Head Objectives”. One of the most widely accepted taxonomies that was developed for the cognitive objectives is Bloom’s Taxonomy. His taxonomy has been adapted by Anderson & Krathowhl (2001) to suit the 21st century. Here are the original and revised versions of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

If we compare these two versions, we will find that the names of six major categories were changed from noun to verb forms. As the taxonomy reflects different forms of thinking and thinking is an active process, so verbs were more accurate. The knowledge category was renamed. Knowledge is a product of thinking and was inappropriate to describe a category of thinking and was replaced with the word remembering instead. Comprehension became understanding and synthesis was renamed creating in order to better reflect the nature of the thinking described by each category. For more clarification, here is a video describing the Bloom’s Taxonomy: 

Psychomotor/Skill Domain: 

It includes objectives that require basic motor skills or physical movement. These objectives relate to: perceive a need to develop a skill, develop readiness to learn a skill, develop initial responses under the guidance of the instructor, refine responses, adopt skills to use in new contexts, and create new skill sets. When I set objectives related to this domain, I put in mind developing all the skills of English: listening, reading, speaking and writing.

Affective Domain:

It relates to the expression of feelings including emotions, fears, interests, attitudes, beliefs and values. These are also called “Heart” objectives. And these objectives are often the most difficult ones to develop and measure.

3. Condition: 

Here we state the conditions we will impose when learners are demonstrating their mastery of the objective. It includes:

The location or context in which the behavior will be performed, e.g, in a written assignment, in the class … etc.
The set of tools to be used, e.g., calculator, the internet, computers … etc.
The learning materials to be used, e.g., dictionaries, handouts, textbooks … etc.

4. Degree:

It is the standard or criterion for judging the behavioral performance. It might be:
Speed: within 10 minutes. 

Accuracy: with 90% accuracy.
Quality: accurately.
Quantity: in 20 words.
Permissible Errors: without errors in tense.
Number: three out of four times.

Resources Used:
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