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Western Kentucky University

School of Teacher Education

Writing Instructional Objectives

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Building Objectives

Use the following radio buttons to select components for composing an objective.

Audience: Behavior: Condition: Degree:
The lion
 
The five year old
 
The architect
 
The criminal
 
The high school student
 
The President of the United States
will crawl over the dead antelope
 
will jump off the bridge
 
will surf the ocean wave
 
will vacuum the carpet
 
will eat a spider
 
will drink a liter of soda
without the aid of a horse
 
when provided with a standard 1/4 inch Phillips head screwdrive
 
given the reference manual "How to bake a peach cobbler in 20 easy steps"
 
given humidity index of 99%
 
when provided with a double oven
 
without the aid of shoes
with no mistakes.
 
scoring Proficient or better on the scoring rubric.
 
in accordance to the rules set by the Bowling Green Police Department.
 
within four years.
 
within 30 minutes of the sun rise.
 
with 99% accuracy.

Remember that an instructional objective successfully communicates an intended instructional result to the learner. It conveys to others a picture of what a successful learner will be able to do to the extent that the picture it conveys is identical to the picture the objective writer had in mind. When you finish writing an objective, stop to look at it and ask yourself why you want students to be able to do what you've described in the objective. If the answer is, "Because that is one of the things they need to be able to do when they complete this course," then the objective is probably acceptable. However, if the answer is, "So that they will be able to _____________," and you fill in the blank with something other than what the objective describes, then it may be describing a teaching procedure or the incorrect behavior. If this is the case, try reworking it.

Conclusions

After generating your instructional objectives, you are ready to move to subsequent stages of the instructional design process, including the creation of assessment items and the development of instructional activities. It is important to begin with determining the specific instructional objectives, and then decide on the most effective assessment strategies and instructional activities, NOT the other way around. Too often teachers decide that they have a really neat activity they want to do and have little idea of what objectives that activity will meet. It may be that the activity meets no relevant objectives in which case it may be necessary to eliminate the activity. This is not entirely bad, though, because it opens up the possibility of new, more relevant activities being created that do address the objectives.

In summary, to prepare a useful, well-written objective, make sure these questions are answered:

  • Who is learning?
  • What do I want students to be able to do?
  • What are the important conditions or constraints under which I want them to perform?
  • How well must students perform for me so I know they have mastered this objective?

You are now prepared to complete the assessment portion of this tutorial.

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 Last Modified 9/25/14