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Caffarella uses the term ‘program objective
’ differently than the term ‘learning objectives
.’ Essentially Caffarella’s objectives
are program goals that are then to be turned in measurable learning objectives
“Discuss how to turn program objectives
/goals into learning objectives
Developing Learning Objectives
, along with the terms performance objectives
targets, describe what participants will learn
as a result of attending an education or training session. These learning objectives
are set in the context of the program objectives
that focus on participant learning
, so there is continuity between the two sets of objectives
. The major difference between learning
and program objectives
is that learning objectives
center on individual participants and sessions with in a larger program, while objectives
are focused on the education or training program as a whole.
are selected carefully, because they set the tone and direction for what participants are expected to do and learn
during the instructional activity. Therefore, in preparing learning objectives
, developer must have been mined a clear picture of the proposed learning
outcomes for the instructional unit. There are five major categories of learning
outcomes: acquiring new skills; enhancing cognitive skills; developing psychomotor skills; strengthening problem-solving and-finding capability; and changing attitudes, beliefs, values, and/or feelings. Following are examples of learning objectives
illustrating each category of learning
outcomes for participants who enroll in an intensive ropes course.
Acquisition of knowledge: participants will be able to describe what a ropes course is and identify the basic principles of team building.
Enhancement of cognitive skills: participants will analyze each of the team building exercises and translate what they have learned into one or two proposed changes in their professional practice and/or personal lives.
Development of psychomotor skills: participants will demonstrate they can do at least two of the physically challenging exercises included in the road course.
Strengthening of problem-solving and -finding capabilities: participants will explain how the various activities they have undergone have a augmented or reinforce their problem-finding or -solving abilities, and how they will apply in this learning
to a specific work and/or life situation.
Changes in attitudes, values, beliefs, and or feelings: participants will share their feelings about experiencing the ropes course and discuss how taking part in course activities has affected them either personally or professionally.
are useful for four major reasons. They provide a focus and consistency for the design of instruction; guidelines for choosing course content and instructional methods; a basis for evaluating what participants have learned; and what direction for learners to help them organize their own learning
. As with program objectives
, learning objective
should be ‘stated clearly enough to indicate to all rational minds exactly what is intended.’ Tracy (1992) has outlined five general rules for communicating objective
clearly and correctly: avoid unfamiliar words; do not confuse or miss use words; be concise; seek simplicity; and review what has been proposed to make sure that objective
say what you want them to say. The focus of each learning objective
, as noted earlier, is on the program participants. Therefore these objectives
should be restated in terms of what learners will be able to know, do, or feel (refer to previous example of outcomes of ropes course participants). Objective
should consist of an opening statement (“the participant will...”), an action verb, and a content reference (which describes the subject being taught). Although the three essential elements of learning objectives
are statement of who (the learner), how (the action verb), and what (the content), other authors have suggested additional components that may be useful in clarifying what learners are able to know or do.
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