When considering the learning process, there are subtle differences between goals and objectives. Being able to identify these differences can assist faculty in fine-tuning the overall roadmap of a course.
- Goals provide a broad framework for what faculty want students to learn and use general terms (e.g. clear communication, critical-thinking skills, etc.)
- Objectives provide a clear, specific indication of the desired leraning outcomes faculty want students to demonstrate or achieve as a result of the learning process.
The table below provides some examples of a course goal, course objective, and a weekly/module-level objective.
|Course Goal||Course Objective||Weekly/Module-level Objective|
|The goal of the course is to help the learner obtain a basic proficiency in music reading and brass instruments.||The learner will learn how to play a scale on the trombone.||Given a trombone, the learner will play an F# note for at least 10 seconds.|
Establishing course and module-level objectives provide a course roadmap for both faculty and students. Students are able to track their progress and identify the key takeaways from a lesson or course.
One method for writing direct, measurable learning objectives involves Bloom’s Taxonomy, which divides thinking skills into categories that range from low-order thinking skills to higher-order thinking skills. From there, various action verbs are associated with each of the categories.
Faculty are welcome to use the Course Alignment Worksheet as they plan, design, and/or redesign their courses to ensure they have an aligned course.
The following readings and resources provide additional information related to writing learning objectives and ensuring course alignment related to assessments, instructional materials, and course activities.
- Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe (e-book access)
- Robert Magar’s Tips on Instructional Objectives
- “Writing Instructional Objectives” by Kathy Waller
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