ID | Be Objective About it

Bloom’s taxonomy became the basis of eLearning content more than it has become the basis of instructional strategy – I won’t claim that it was supposed to be the other way.

But one thing that Bloom’s Taxonomy made sure that objectives were always stated upfront – usually the first (or the second) screen in an eLearning course. Most old-school instructional designers may consider not having an objectives screen to be eLearning blasphemy.

In any case, what matters is that you write the objectives right. More than setting expectations for the learner, it is one of better checks available to the instructional designer (or the teacher) to structure and provide design to the learning content. Look at the objectives, write the content. Look at the content, compare that it matches the objectives. If it doesn’t match, don’t change the objectives, change the content – the objective is (and should be) a better measure than the content. Or is it?

Depends on whether the objective was well written; whether serious thought went into the design of the objective. According to this site:

Heinich and his colleagues (2002) suggest that well written objectives have four parts. They call these parts the ABCD’s of instructional objectives. The A stands for Audience, the B represents Behavior, the C stands for Condition and the D for Degree of Accuracy. Each instructional objective is written in sentence format and should contain the A, B, C and D.

If you see a few examples of the objectives, you may notice that the objective actually helps formulate the content and the appropriate tests (see Section C2 [PDF]) – to check if the objective was met. If the objectives are written ‘completely’, it is easier to design the content and the assessment – it is easy to ensure that you have learning content that is relevant to the expectation set out at the beginning of the learning programme.

Still old school, perhaps, but I still don’t understand why ‘understand’ gets used as an instructional verb. Because according to the site above:

The behaviour is the verb that describes what the learner (audience) will be able to do after the instruction.

This is the heart of the objective and MUST be measurable AND observable. In addition, these verbs MUST be specific. Verbs such as know, understand, comprehend, and appreciate are difficult to measure and are therefore not good choices for objectives.

 And I couldn’t have said it any better. I hope you understand.

Bloom’s Taxonomy link: ATHERTON J S (2005) Learning and Teaching: Bloom’s taxonomy [On-line] UK: Available: http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/bloomtax.htm 

Atul Sabnis

Atul Sabnis

Founder of eVeltio Education Consulting, a young firm that provides consulting & implementation services to educational institutes to execute better strategies for delivery of education by integrating training, process, workflow, and technology.

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1 Response

  1. November 13, 2013

    […] while ago, we had discussed the use of learning objectives and their place in empowering and designing learning, and therefore assessing learning. Whatever […]

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