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Module A ButtonTopic A4.4: Learning Objectives

Think about a topic area you are already presenting in a face to face format or other setting you are comfortable with. Write the expected outcome(s) you have for your students. Do not be concerned about crafting a goal or an objective from this exercise now as you are simply thinking about the course outcomes.

I developed an online dosage calculation course for my paramedic students. It is a prerequisite course for the program. As I worked through the ISD process I started thinking about the course outcomes. I expect my students to be able to calculate a dose of a common medication for a common medical problem with 100% accuracy. I have a lot of experience with teaching my target audiences. I know math and dosage calculation is a difficult concept and that across the country many of my fellow instructors have similar problems. I also know that because we are often dealing with very sick patients and that accuracy in dosage calculation is critical there is not a lot of "wiggle room" with their performance of this skill.

So how did I do? Well, this outcome is a little broad and I need to think about the various methods of doing dosage calculation. Perhaps there are multiple methods. Maybe there is a preferred method by one of my course stakeholders. (In fact, there is a preferred method by my department and unfortunately it was not MY preferred method. I am glad I asked because I had no intention of even showing them this method. If I had continued the way I initially planned I would have had a lot of reworking to do with the course when I was finished.)

Because the student has not had the benefit of knowing what a "common medication" or a "common medical problem" is when they take this course I quickly realized that this outcome was not very realistic. I finally settled on the following: I expect my students to demonstrate how to set up a dosage calculation problem using the dimensional analysis method with 100% accuracy.

Note that I have incorporated information from the Analysis phase into this thinking process. If you do not feel you have enough experience with your topic area, audience, or any other aspect of this process, ask someone in your field that you admire. There are many support and networking opportunities for your topic area and most of us are excited to show you what we have developed. Many fields also have web sites devoted to a specific area that offer a plethora of teaching tips and techniques.


Learning Activity I

Complete this activity after you've read this topic. Use the expected outcomes from Reflection Question 2 (above) to answer this question or select another course outcome to work with.

1. Using the outcome, write at least one goal following the ABCD format for writing objectives.

2. Write three or four objectives for the goal listed above.

3. Ask two peers to evaluate your work. Although it is helpful to select someone from within your chosen field, it is also good to ask someone who may be unfamiliar with your field to review your goals and objectives. They should be able to provide a non- biased perspective.


Learning Activity II

Visit three online courses, looking at the syllabus or description for each course. Find the course objectives and assess them for the following:

  • How easy was it to find this information? How "deep" was it in the web site (how many mouse clicks did it take you to get to it?)
  • Do the objectives identify who the intended audience is? If they do not, is there some other clue in the course that tells you this?
  • Do the objectives identify the expected outcome or behavior?
  • Do the objectives identify the condition that will be present when the outcome is evaluated?
  • Do they identify the performance standard that is considered acceptable to demonstrate competency?
  • If you have access to content for the course, spend a little time looking over the topics presented. Does it appear that the content will provide the information necessary to evaluate the objectives?


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