Learning Centered Technology

Technology for the Educator

Creating Quality Online Courses: Learning Objectives

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Creating Quality Online Courses: Learning Objectives

It is a simple concept, if you are trying to learn how to fly a plane, but your objectives talk about driving a car, how have you accomplished your goals? It is extremely difficult to get to where you are going when you do not have a road map. Learning Objectives or outcomes lay out the path for the student and the faculty. They keep you headed in the right direction and allows students to understand why they are learning each concept.

When course objectives are established, they need to be measurable. Read the Learning Objective below and describe how you would measure the students learning based on the statement.

Understand how the solar system was formed.

This statement does not contain measurable objectives. To make the objective measurable, Verbs must be used. Blooms Taxonomy contains an outstanding list of verbs that can be used to make the objective measurable, see the following http://www.apu.edu/live_data/files/333/blooms_taxonomy_action_verbs.pdf .

Now read the following Learning Objective and see how much easier it is for you to determine if students have learned the outcomes.

Students will be able to list and describe the four steps that occur in the creation of solar systems.

In addition to the course learning objectives, which is a broad overview of the course, you must make sure the module/unit learning objectives are measurable and consistent with the course-level objectives.

To keep the roadmap clear, you will need to align the module objectives with the course objectives. This goes back to the flying example given earlier. If your course objective is talking about flying, why are you telling the student about driving a car? Is there a relationship between the two objectives? You must draw clear lines to help the students understand why they are learning to drive a car especially since they signed up to learn to fly a plane.

This whole concept is the heart of course design. You are telling students what they will learn and guiding them through the process of learning the concepts. Students may not be able to correlate the relationship between course and module objectives, but you are the expert and it is your job to show them how things connect. Remember the old Karate Kid movie, wax on, wax off. It was not until Mr. Miyagi showed Daniel the correlation between wax on, wax off and karate, that he understood the concept of objectives.

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