Best practices in developing learning objectives

The following models can help you build your learning objectivesClick each title to learn more about them.


Apply to your course: Resources & Tools 

Reflect and Review your learning objectives

  • Do they begin with a strong action verb—are they something doable?
  • Are they S.M.A.R.T?
  • Do they ask students to use higher-order thinking skills, as well as lower-order thinking skills? Is there a balance?
  • Update your learning objectives on your syllabus and LMS

Review these Examples of Improved Learning Objectives

The table below shows you how to make good and measurable learning objectives.

Not Measurable

Good

Better

Become familiar with evolutionary theory about human behavior.

Evaluate the origins of evolutionary theory about human behavior.

Evaluate the evidence for various frameworks surrounding evolutionary theory about human behavior.

Understand the derivative of a function at a point.

Interpret the derivative of a function at a point as the slope of the tangent line.

Interpret the derivative of a function at a point as the slope of the tangent line and estimate its value from the graph of a function.

Gain an appreciation of art in its global context.

Make cross-cultural comparisons of historical art works from 1400-1945. Make cross-cultural comparisons of historical art works from Europe, North America, Japan, China and parts of Africa from 1400-1945.

References

Anderson, L.W., Krathwohl, D. R., & Bloom, B. S. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives (Abridged ed.). New York: Longman.

Armstrong, P. (n.d.). Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching. “Bloom’s Taxonomy.”

Blaschko, P. (n.d.) Are Your Lesson-level Learning Objectives S.M.A.R.T.? Center for the Advancement of Teaching. Temple University.

Bloom, B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives. Vol. 1: Cognitive domain. New York: McKay, 20, 24.

Churches, A. (2010). Bloom's digital taxonomy

Common Sense Education (2016). “What’s is Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy

Rogers-Shaw, C., Carr-Chellman, D. J., & Choi, J. (2018). Universal design for learning: Guidelines for accessible online instruction. Adult Learning, 29(1), 20-31. https://doi.org/10.1177/1045159517735530

Sneed, O. (2016). “Integrating Technology with Bloom's Taxonomy”

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (1998). Understanding by design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

How to cite this page:

UMass Amherst IDEAS Team. (2024, March). Developing Learning Objectives in an Online Course. https://www.umass.edu/ideas/developing-learning-objectives-online-course