If your students know what needs to be learned in order to master a particular objective, they will know what areas to focus on the most.

In online and distance learning in general, learning objectives are key. Students will often experience problems if there are not clear objectives and instructions in order to achieve mastery of that particular objective. Remember that you cannot take a real-time formative assessment of your students understanding of the material (the look in their eyes) , so writing clear objectives helps to guide your students and your quizzes, assignments, and discussions will help you know if they mastered that objective.

The question we must ask is “What will the learner know, be able to do, demonstrate, feel, etc. when these tasks have been completed?” Then how do you evaluate or assess that indeed they did learn it? This can be accomplished by designing your evaluation tool based on your objectives. We call this instructional alignment.

Let’s talk about a few key reasons writing objectives should be important to you – and your students.

  • Instructional objectives offer a means for the instructor to design appropriate instruction that will facilitate effective learning.
  • Instructional objectives provide a framework for devising ways to evaluate student learning. 
  • Thirdly, objectives guide the learner. The rationale is that students will use the objectives to identify the skills and knowledge they must master.

The preceding points taken from “Designing Effective Instruction” 2nd Edition Kemp, Jerrold; Morrison, Gary; Moss, Steven).

In 1956, Benjamin Bloom led a group of educational psychologists who identified 3 levels of intellectual behavior important to learning. His taxonomy, “Blooms Taxonomy” is still widely used in education today.

Instructional Objectives are categorized into 3 domains according to Bloom’s Taxonomy:

  • Cognitive Domain – (Mental Skills and Knowledge) 
  • Psychomotor Domain- (Manual or Physical Skills) 
  • Affective Domain – (Growth in Feelings or Emotional Areas – Attitudes)