Course Objectives & The Design Process

I came across an interesting topic on the website E-Learning Heroes. The discussion was centered on whether or not learner’s really care about course objectives. There was a number of viewpoints ranging from the claim that listing objectives were unnecessary down to the idea that a student can’t learn without them. The consensus seemed to be that the main purpose for course objectives was to assist the course designer. In Chapter 5 of Moore & Kearsley (2012) we were introduced the process involved in designing a distance education. Creating course objectives and learning outcomes were explained as important tools for roadmaps for the students. The designers and architects need to know the objectives in order to successfully design the course. However, the discussion followed that students are more concerned with what they will be required to do to learn the material as opposed to the objectives themselves. One individual noted that when writing course objectives, if you want the student to pay attention, then you must write them in a language the student can understand. Using “clinical language” to list course objectives is a quick road to a snooze fest.

Here is a very informative video compiling research on learning objectives. It’s a little lengthy but worth the watch. I would have to agree with the individuals in favor of using course objectives as a road map, but in a way that explains to the student what they will be getting out of it, in a language they can understand. While many people stated that the use Bloom’s verbs are a good starting point, you don’t want to inundate a student with uninspiring objectives pulled directly from a Bloom’s Taxonomy list.

As I continue through my program and begin my professional career I will keep this concept in mind. I feel very strongly that every aspect of a course should be engaging and inspiring and if you can do that from the start with the objectives then you have a good chance of keeping the student engaged.


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