Friday, July 25, 2014

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Learning Objective Part 2

If you miss the first part of this guide, please click here to learn more.

Now that you have learned the general format of a learning objective, it's time to look at few examples and for you to construct your own learning objectives for a lesson plan.  If you need my feedback, feel free to post them in the comment section below.  I'll also provide few examples I referenced from ASTD Designing Learning program at the end of this post.


Yesterday, I mentioned the three key components of writing a learning objective. They are
  • Action statement
  • Performance condition statement
  • Performance criterion statement

It is common practice to write the performance condition first, then the action statement, followed by the criterion statement.  Essentially, the flow should be as follows.  I also include few examples in bullet points for your reference.

1. Performance condition statement

  • Given the spreadsheet with data...
  • Given the customer case data...
  • Given the procedure guide...
  • Given the quick reference...
You get the idea.  It's a good idea to start with the verb "Given".

2. Action statement

  • write a report...
  • calibrate a micrometer...
  • enter an equation...
  • operate a machine...

3. Performance criterion statement

  • with no errors
  • matches case data
  • within 20 minutes
  • includes five graphics
  • score a 80% or above

Now if you combine the three steps above = 1 + 2 + 3, you got an effective learning objective!!  Let's look at few examples referenced from the ASTD Designing Learning program.
  • Given a repair manual, normal shop tools, and a broken motor, the student will repair the motor so that it operates normally within 15 minutes.
  • Given customer order data, an order entry system, and procedure guide, the student will enter all data into the correct fields with no errors.
  • Given a customer scenario, the student will conduct a sales dialog in which the customer needs are probed and product benefits are described based on those needs.
  • Given a manager training manual, activity worksheets, and reference guide, the manager will describe and apply manager competencies to their work accurately.

If you have more than one learning objective for a lesson plan, you can list them in bullet points.  For example,

Given a spreadsheet with data entered, calculation steps, and quick reference, the student will be able to perform the following without error and within 20 minutes.
  • enter the correct formula
  • calculate the final answer
  • write a short summary of the findings
Hope these few examples give you a better ideas on how to write an effective learning objective.  If you find this topic helpful, please spread the word and let other educators know!  Feel free to post your learning objectives below and I can review them for you!

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