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Module A ButtonTopic A4: Learning Objectives

Sooner or later, students are bound to ask,
"Just what is it that we're supposed to be learning?"

To a student, this is a fundamental question, and it gets to the heart of this station's topic. Simply, for instruction to have any value, students need to be informed beforehand in clear and precise statements what they will learn by the time instruction is completed (Mager, 1962). This topic discusses what is meant by "goals" and "objectives" and how they're related to the "performance agreement."

Learning Objectives
Upon completion of Topic A4, you will:

  • Define the terms goal, objective, and performance agreement.
  • Name and describe each of the "ABCDs" of a goal and objective.
  • Use an expected instructional outcome in your discipline to write a goal that accurately reflects the use of the "ABCD" components.
  • Use the goal written in Learning Objective #3 to demonstrate a performance agreement by writing at least five objectives (using ABCD elements) that support the goal.


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).


This topic will accomplish the following:

  • Introduce you to the concepts underlying good instructional design,
  • Outline a strategy – the ADDIE model – for designing a quality online course,
  • Explain how formative and summative evaluation can ensure that instructional design is effective.
  • Encourage you to reflect how you can help your online students master the required skills or concepts.


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