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Module A ButtonTopic A4.1: Learning Objectives

Why Are Objectives Needed?
A thoughtfully written learning objective will do the following:

  • Provide instructors with direction as they present the material.
  • Help focus students as they learn the material.
  • Provide a basis of evaluation for educational products (see Bloom, et al).

How are GOALS different from OBJECTIVES?
Goals are broad, overarching expected outcomes of the instructional process. They often represent philosophical statements about expected learning outcomes and seldom provide specific measurable events. Because they're often vague, they don't serve as a foundation for evaluation; a well-written objective will.

Objectives are similar to goals, but they contain specific information that allows them to be measured to determine if the stated learning has taken place. They may also be called learning objectives, performance objectives, behavioral objectives, enabling objectives, or some other term. While Robert Mager's term "behavioral objective" is often used, it is considered a loaded term because it also defines a type of learning and teaching.

Objectives may be presented in two levels: first and second level. A first level objective often identifies the overall goal of the instruction for the program or instructional event. Sometimes this level is called the terminal objective or primary goal of instruction. The second level describes the objectives required to meet the first level objectives. Sometimes objectives on this level are called enabling objectives.


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