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School of Teacher Education

Writing Instructional Objectives


Types of Objectives

Objectives can be classified into three domains of learning:

1. Cognitive

2. Psychomotor

3. Attitudes

Common types of learning objectives

  • deal with what a student should know, understand or comprehend.
  • emphasize remembering or reproducing something which has presumably been learned.
  • solving some intellective task for which the individual has to determine the essential problem.
  • reorder given material or combine it with ideas, methods, or procedures previously learned.
  • vary from simple recall of material learned to highly original and creative ways of combining and synthesizing new ideas and materials.
  • should encourage higher order thinking using Bloom’s Taxonomy as a guide (See section 5 for further information.)

A. The junior high school student, in section II,

B. will label clouds as being cirrus, stratus, cumulus, or nimbus,

C. when shown actual clouds or pictures of them

D. with 80 percent accuracy.

Since being able to identify different kinds of clouds requires the student to understand or comprehend the categories indicated, this is a cognitive objective.


  • are concerned with how a student controls or moves his body.
  • emphasize some muscular or motor skill such as use of precision instruments or tools,
  • encourage actions which evidence gross motor skills such as the use of the body in dance or athletic performance .
  • Include examples like typing 25 words per minute, printing letters correctly, painting a picture, or dribbling a basketball.


A. Third grade students, beginning a unit on handwriting,

B. will write

C. the letters d, b, g, and p using cursive style handwriting

D. forming each letter correctly and with a single smooth stroke.

Since being able to write cursive style requires the student to manipulate an object, a pencil or pen, to produce a product, the written letters, this is a psychomotor objective.


  • deal with how a student should feel about something
  • emphasize a feeling tone, an emotion, a degree of acceptance or rejection, attitudes, appreciations, or relationships .
  • vary from simple attention to selected phenomena to complex but internally consistent qualities of character and conscience.
  • include examples like listening attentively, enjoying music, or appreciating literature.


C. Given the opportunity to work in a team with several people of different races,

A. the student

B. will demonstrate a positive increase in attitude towards non-discrimination of race,

D. as measured by a checklist utilized/completed by non-team members.

The objective suggests that a student will come to feel more positive about working with diverse populations. Because increased interest and attitude and not knowledge of the subject is the behavior involved, this is an affective objective.

In summary,

  • Cognitive objectives emphasize THINKING,
  • Affective objectives emphasize FEELING and
  • Psychomotor objectives emphasize ACTING.

NOTE: Objectives can overlap into more than one learning domain. Look at the primary emphasis of the objective. Ask yourself what type of student behavior is most emphasized in the objective. Is it one of thinking, feeling or acting?

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 Last Modified 9/24/14