Learning objectives are an integral part of education, as it allows students to understand the content better. They are supposed to be clear, specific to the topic, and help the students in their learning process.
Many students tend to feel that learning objectives are exhausting and repetitive, but the right learning objectives showcase the skills and the knowledge that will be gained by the students after they finish the target lesson or course. A good instructor utilizes them to explain or present an overview of the entire syllabus, individual chapters in a book, or a lecture.
How do learning objectives help students?
Before understanding how learning objectives help the students, let us understand in detail what constitutes them.
A learning objective contains pointers to what the students are going to learn after the course, chapter, topic, or lecture is taught to them. It briefly indicates the idea behind the lesson and points out the learning outcomes even before the student starts with the topic or chapter.
Learning objectives are framed on three important points - skills, knowledge, and aptitude. Let us look at the benefits of the learning outcomes from these objectives for students:
- Helps in organizing, clarifying, and priorities learning for the students.
- Tells the students about the important topics covered in the chapter or session.
- Manages the students' learning by evaluating their progress and encouraging them to take their learning ahead in the right direction.
- Helps in structuring the learning activities and assignments as per the learning objective.
- Provides a challenging and fruitful learning experience. The learning from a chapter or a topic, when mentioned in the learning objectives, provides the required support to the students.
- Reduces unnecessary stress among students by pointing out the specific targets of the chapter, or lesson, and helping them understand what the topic deals with.
- Increases the awareness of the students about their learning curve. They can analyze the learning objectives beforehand and plan to cover the topic accordingly.
Creating the right learning objectives can benefit the instructors as well in the following ways:
- By creating the right objective, the instructor has an idea of how to plan the chapter or the session.
- Provides the instructor with an idea about the number of topics to be taught to the students. This prevents the students from getting overburdened with a lesson.
- Helps in preparing the teaching materials more effectively.
- Provides new insights and inputs for the changes required in the session, chapter, or topics.
- Helps to structure and restructure the academic curriculum for the students, according to their needs.
- Helps to develop a proper attitude towards teaching the topic or chapter.
The learning outcomes for any topic of study are mentioned in the learning objective. If the objectives and the outcomes are not properly mentioned, they can mislead the students. If the students cannot understand the learning objectives, they may skip the main topic, hence, the instructors need to provide the right learning objectives for the students to help them in learning the topic.
Learning objectives can only benefit the students if they are written accurately. There are certain guidelines to writing the perfect learning objectives. They are as follows:
- Always avoid starting your objective with words like ‘Know’, ‘Appreciate’, ‘Learn’, and ‘Understand.’ These words may be the ultimate goal of learning, but mentioning them might lessen a student’s interest in them.
- Always try to structure the learning objectives in the form of instructional objectives.
- Always make sure to use analysis, synthesis, and evaluation questions to form the basis of your learning objectives.
- Always write the learning objective in a concise and learner-centered language.
- Always follow Bloom’s taxonomy, as it explains the process of learning in a detailed manner. The concept of Bloom’s taxonomy is simple and can be easily applied while writing the learning objectives. The instructor has to follow three simple rules, such as:
- Before you understand the concept, remember it well.
- Understand the concept before you apply it.
- Analyze the process before you evaluate it.
Framing good learning objectives may take some time, but a repeated approach towards writing them will eventually help in framing the right learning objective for the students. The learning objective helps the student find the purpose of their study and focus on their learning efforts, stay informed about the selected content or activities, and proper guidance towards testing and assessment strategies.
It is not always easy to write learning objectives. The instructors face many issues, and that can lead to the formation of the wrong objective. Some common problems faced while writing objectives are:
- When the objective is broad and covers more than one learning topic.
- When the objectives are written in the form of instructions, instead of mentioning how to use the topic for the benefit of the students.
- When the objective is not complete and does not mention the details required to understand the topic or chapter.
Learning objectives play an important role in determining the details present in the topic, chapter, or session. The right learning objective can help the student understand and analyze the importance of the topic. It gives a picture of what details a student can learn from the topic. If the objective is not written properly, it can mislead the students. The instructor should spend time preparing well-detailed, understandable learning objectives that should cover all the parts of the chapter, session, or topic that should benefit the students in spending time on that part. The instructor should follow the guidelines to write the right learning objective for the students.