Determining and developing instructional goals and objectives are a critical part of the instructional design process.
Instructional goals differ from objectives:
For example, in our hypothetical business writing course, imagine we are working on the objectives for the lesson on proper e-mail etiquette. The objectives for the course could include:
One of the most popular approaches in the world of instructional design to setting goals is Robert Mager's approach. Mager identifies three components that IDs need to consider when generating performance objectives:
In our example of creating a business writing course, these three might look like the following:
When writing a business email (condition), the learner will create a message (performance) that is concise and appropriate (criterion).
Clear instructional objectives, the intended outcome of the learning, are important from both the learner's perspective, as well as the ID's perspective. Clear objectives can make designing the content an easier job for the instructional designer.
An objective should describe what the learner will be able to do after completing the instruction, in a way that is either measurable or observable. Most instructional designers reference Bloom's taxonomy when writing instructional goals.
As you may recall from the previous lesson, Bloom's taxonomy is divided into three domains:
Most of the time, instruction is focused on cognition, and so the cognitive domain is used most frequently.
The following table shows the six levels of the cognitive domain, starting from most basic and moving to most skilled, along with common verbs used to describe the intended outcome of instruction.
|Knowledge||Identify, describe, define, list, recall, recognize|
|Comprehension||Comprehend, discuss, distinguish, locate, interpret|
|Application||Apply, construct, demonstrate, carry out, use|
|Analysis||Analyze, contrast, differentiate, compare|
|Synthesis||Create, develop, compile, propose, integrate|
|Evaluation||Evaluate, assess, criticize, support, defend|
So in our example of creating a lesson on proper business e-mail etiquette, our objective would likely be in the Application level, since the student is applying learning by actually writing an e-mail. Some of the objectives might be, then, using Application-level verbs: