How to Write Effective Learning Objectives

All instructional designers are well aware of the benefits of learning objectives. However, even those who mastered the art of writing objectives often wonder of their effectiveness.

First, let’s look at some of the reasons why we need to include learning objectives in our lessons. Most importantly, objectives tell learners what they should expect from the course. They also help learners understand what is important in the course and what they will most likely be assessed on at the end.

While the advantages of learning objectives are evident, many learners find them useless and often skip over them.  So, what can an instructional designer do to help learners pay attention to the objectives?  There are several ways to handle this problem. First, instead of offering a bulleted list of learning objectives at the beginning of the course, instructional designers should try to find some creative ways to engage learners.  One way to do that is to come up with a realistic attention getter.  For example, you can think of  an anecdote that paints the before and after picture or ask rhetorical questions that cover the intended learning objectives and make your learners think at the same time. You may also show appropriate images that illustrate your objectives as you read them aloud.

While all the creative ways mentioned above are good attention getters, keep in mind that there are always traditional learners who prefer a standard bulleted list of objectives. Therefore, if you do decide to go the creative route, I suggest you include an attachment with traditional, measurable and observable objectives.

If you want to learn more about writing effective learning objectives, feel free to check out my Instructional Design for ELearning book

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