Learning Objectives

Defining levels of learning success

For a well-designed online course, it is necessary to define learning outcomes for each learning unit in your course.

By including clear learning objectives for each learning unit in your course, it will be easier to design activities and to select the tools for measuring learning. This provides a weekly learning roadmap for your students making it clear what is expected of them each week.

The Course Mapping resources help inform you of the relationship between the weekly learning outcomes to the course learning outcomes. Use the resources on this page to learn how to craft measurable learning objectives and how to make them available to students.

Crafting Measurable Learning Objectives

When writing learning objectives it is important to define the action verb that describes what the learner will be able to do at the end of the learning unit. What skill/knowledge/attitude will the learner gain/improve after they go through the learning materials you have prepared for them? How will they demonstrate that they’ve learned?

When writing instructional objectives, answer the following three questions:

  1. What should the learner be able to do? (Performance)
  2. Under what conditions do you want the learner to be able to do it? (Conditions)
  3. How well must it be done? (Criteria)

Refer to the SUNY Online Course Quality Review Rubric webpage for resources that will help you craft good objectives. Refer to Bloom’s Taxonomy as a guide for selecting action verbs that are measurable through assessment.

Use Objective Builder from UCF for generating instructional objectives.

Creating Lesson Objectives in Blackboard

In the Blackboard LMS we recommend posting your lesson objectives in an Item; this ensures that the learning objectives are immediately visible and easily accessible in the lesson folder. See Course Organization for more detailed guidance on laying out your content using the UMass Boston online course template.

Tips & Tricks
  • Avoid using "understand" or “able to” when writing your learning objectives. Terms should be measurable.
  • When writing your objectives, speak to the learner directly, in the 2nd person: “you will learn” instead of “students will learn”.
  • When you design your learning activities, start with lower-order thinking skills in the first lessons of the course, gradually moving to higher-order thinking skills. See Bloom’s Taxonomy for action verbs for each level: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation.
  • Be transparent about how the assessments relate to the objectives.