Learning Objectives

Learning objectives are measurable statements that convey what students should know or be able to do. A learning objective should include how students will demonstrate mastery. As you develop learning objectives, consider cognitive complexity – the level of rigor of student work you expect and how you can scaffold increasing complexity throughout the course. You might first expect recall and application and later in the course expect application, higher level analyses, or the creation of new artifacts.

  • Consider student preparation. What accumulated capital do students bring to your course you may leverage? Where might there be gaps that can be filled by changing how you teach or by directing students to support services?
  • Use measureable verbs when writing Course Goals Objectives. Consider using Bloom’s Taxonomy or Fink’s Taxonomyto write learning objectives based on levels of learning and complexity of content.
  • Ensure each learning objective maps directly to a course level outcome.
  • Keep in mind how you will engage and motivate students to meet objectives (relevancy, applications to real world situations, discipline specific scenarios, etc.)
  • Provide frequent opportunities for students to make connections within the course, the broader discipline, and the world.
  • Design activities where students make connections between content and student learning objectives.

Additional Considerations for Teaching Online

While most of the information on teaching effectiveness pertains to both RI and online classrooms, following are a few key points for online courses.

  • As you create your online modules, include your learning objectives at the beginning of each module. Let those learning objectives guide the content and assignments you include in each module. What content do you need to provide to students to ensure they can meet the objectives? How will you assess whether your students met your objectives?
  • Try to keep the number of objectives per module at five or fewer. Any more than five can become overwhelming to students and may be unreasonable as far as concepts we can expect them to grasp in one module.