Writing Learning Objectives A guide to success

What is a Learning Objective?

States the course expectations for students. It is a guide to help students successfully complete the course.

The Major components:

  1. Detailed description of skill gained
  2. Direction for completing a task or assignment.
  3. Evaluation criteria
The Difference between a GOAL vs a LEARNING OBJECTIVE.


The goal states a general outcome for the course. It's focus is the general outcome of an instructional unit or program.


The learning objective states a specific outcome for one or more course activities, tasks or assignments. By successfully achieving the learning outcome, the student contributes to the attainment of the course goal.

Learning Objectives are Important to the Success of Your Course.

Learning objectives are guides to:

  1. Selecting course content
  2. Design, develop, implementing the instructional strategy
  3. Develop and selecting instructional material
  4. Constructing assessments and other course evaluation tools

When Writing a Learning Objective:

  1. Focus on mastery vs covering content
  2. Focus on the topic not the process for teaching the topic
  3. Focus on skill mastery vs subject matter
  4. Identify one learning objective at a time

VideoScribe - Writing Learning Objectives by The eLearning Girls, Published 6/5/14

Aids to Writing Learning Objectives

Process-Oriented Learner Behaviors


  • Recall
  • Identify
  • Recognize
  • Acquire
  • Disteguish


  • Translate
  • Extrapolate
  • Convert
  • Interpret
  • Abstract
  • Transform


  • Apply
  • Sequence
  • Carry out
  • Solve
  • Prepare
  • Operate
  • Generalize
  • Plan
  • Repair
  • Explain


  • Analyze
  • Estimate
  • Compare
  • Observe
  • Detect
  • Classify
  • Discover
  • Discriminate
  • Indentify
  • Explore
  • Distinguish
  • Catalog
  • Investigate
  • Breakdown
  • Order
  • Recognize
  • Determine
  • Outside


  • Write
  • Plan
  • Integrate
  • Formulate
  • Propose
  • Specify
  • Produce
  • Organize
  • Theorize
  • Design
  • Build
  • Systematize


  • Evaluate
  • Verify
  • Assess
  • Test
  • Judge
  • Rank
  • Measure
  • Appraise
  • Select
  • Check


The learning objective clearly states what the student will accomplish upon completing the course. They form the foundation of the instructional design and delivery of the course.

Three Major Components:

  • Description of task, activities and expected outcomes
  • Instructions for task, activities, and evaluations
  • Evaluation Criteria

Focus of Learning Objectives:

  • Student Success
  • Learner Centered Environment
  • Skill Mastery


Arreola,, R. A., Ph.D. (n.d.). Writing Learning Objectives [Scholarly project]. Retrieved February 14, 2017, from https://www.uwo.ca/tsc/graduate_student_programs/pdf/LearningObjectivesArreola.pdf

Created By
LaDale Whaley


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