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Topics in this section include --
   Instructional Objectives  Student Tests / Bloom's Taxonomy
   The ADDIE Model  
Instructional Objectives

Definition -- Instructional objectives describe the skills, knowledge, abilities or attitudes students should possess or demonstrate after they complete the training. The starting point for designing a course of study should include these instructional objectives; the objectives determine the intended outcomes of the training. Good instructional objectives describe an observable performance, one that can be observed and measured by an instructor or manager. In a nutshell, instructional objectives: DiVinci-type computer

  • Describe a skill that students are expected to possess after instruction
  • Describe a measurable performance
  • Describe the performance conditions

Learning Objectives -- Instructional Objectives are not just brief descriptions of lesson content or descriptions of student activities. Each question on a quiz should link to a specific learning objective in the course. One or more learning objectives are written for each module or lesson in the training.


Objectives vs. Activities -- To help distinguish Instructional Objectives from instructional activities, consider these two examples sentences:
        1. The student will view a simulation of XYZ software operations.
        2. The student will list at least three XYZ software operations.

The first statement does not meet the definition of an objective because view describes an "activity," not a skill.  In contrast, the second statement describes a skill (create a list), asking for information taught in a course or a textbook.

Learning Outcomes -- Well-written learning objectives describe what the student will be able to do after the training; these objectives represent the intended learning outcomes from the training. It is a good practice to write Instructional Objectives before or while writing the course outline or Storyboard. That way, the course can "teach to the objectives." Then when the Instructional Designer or SME writes the test, they will be able to test how well the course taught the objectives and how well the students learned them. In this way, Learning Objectives and Learning Outcomes are directly related.


Measurable Performance -- A good learning objective describes a measurable performance. Instructional objectives should ask students to perform a task that is observable and measurable. Thus, objectives should:
        · Include a verb that describes a student performance that can be observed
        · Include a list of criteria to be used to measure student performance

The verb in a learning objective plays a key role in determining whether the objective is measurable or observable. Verbs like "know" and "understand" should be avoided because whether or not a student "knows" or "understands" something cannot be measured.

Common Ambiguous Terms -
Not Measurable
Good Performance Words -
Select (or choose)
Identify (or define)
Grasp the significance of
Become familiar with
Adjust (or align)
Become aware of

These are some examples of poorly-written learning objectives:
      ·   Students will be able to recognize that pursuing democratic ideals requires diligence.
      ·   Students will understand the use of the Dewey decimal system.
      ·   Employees will demonstrate positive habits of the mind.

Note that these learning outcomes could only be measured "subjectively," and not objectively.

Click to see PageMaker learning objectives   Click to view the Instructional Objectives I wrote for a PageMaker class.
Instructional Objectives Resources
Writing Instructional Objectives  http://assessment.uconn.edu/primer/objectives1.html
How to Write Instructional Objectives  http://edtech2.tennessee.edu/projects/bobannon/writing_objectives.html
Determine Your Learning Objectives & Activities  http://managementhelp.org/training/systematic/guidelines-to-design-training.htm#anchor333630

For details, see these books: Preparing Instructional Objectives by Robert Mager and Writing Effective Objectives by C. M. Munson.

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Student Tests - Bloom's Taxonomy
Bloom's Taxonomy -- In 1956, Benjamin Bloom wrote that over 95 % of the test questions students encounter require them to think only at the lowest possible level ... the recall of information. Bloom identified six levels within the cognitive domain, from the simple recollection of facts, knowledge -- the lowest level, through increasingly more complex and abstract mental levels to the highest order, classified as evaluation.

Bloom's Hierarchy      Hierarchy -- Bloom and his co-workers established a hierarchy of educational objectives, generally referred to as Bloom's Taxonomy, an attempt to divide cognitive objectives into subdivisions. The taxonomy provides a useful structure in which to categorize test questions, since professors will characteristically ask questions within particular levels.

     Verbs -- Like writing instruction objectives, writing test questions involves verb selection. Listed below are examples of verbs often used in test questions.

Using Bloom's Taxonomy as a guide, the verbs below have been categorized according to the intellectual activity they represent, ranked here from the highest to the lowest level.

evaluation appraise, argue, assess, attach, choose, compare, defend, estimate, predict, rate, core, select, support, value, evaluate
[Do you agree ...]
synthesis arrange, assemble, collect, compose, construct, create, develop, formulate, manage, organize, plan, prepare, set up, write
[What might happen if ...]
analysis calculate, categorize, compare, contrast, criticize, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, examine, question, test
[Classify ... according to ...]
application apply, choose, demonstrate, dramatize, employ, illustrate, interpret, operate, practice, schedule, sketch, solve, use, write
[How is ..., Why is ...]
comprehension classify, describe, discuss, explain, express, identify, indicate, locate, recognize, report, restate, review, select, translate
[Which picture depicts ...]
knowledge arrange, define, duplicate, label, list, memorize, name, order, recognize, relate, recall, repeat, reproduce, state
[Name the ...]
     Test Question Examples -- The sample questions below demonstrate the use of these verbs, from the most simple to the highest knowledge level:
  •  Knowledge:  Who fought in the War of 1812?
  •  Comprehension:  Name the states in the Confederacy.
  •  Application:  Why was the Boston Tea Party a significant act for the settlers?
  •  Analysis:   How does the American Civil War compare with the French Civil War?
  •  Synthesis:   If you can only take 10 cultural items to a new world, what will you take?
  •  Evaluation:   Do you agree with the main precepts of the Green Party? Why or why not?
Bloom's Taxonomy and Student Outcomes Resources
Nat'l Inst. for Learning Outcomes Assessment  http://www.learningoutcomeassessment.org/TFComponentSLOS.htm
Bloom's Taxonomy Flipchart  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Blooms-Taxonomy-Flip-Chart-Freebie-660065
Revision of Bloom's Taxonomy  http://www.celt.iastate.edu/teaching/RevisedBlooms1.html
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The ADDIE Model

Definition - Traditionally, the ADDIE model is used by instructional designers and training developers. ADDIE is an acronym for the five phases of the training building process—Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. The ADDIE Model represents a flexible guideline for building effective training.

ADDIE Model Steps and Procedures

  • analyze student characteristics
  • define learning goals and objectives
  • set realistic expectations for the course
  • decide on the main instructional method(s)
  • design an assessment plan
  • create detailed course outline
  • construct a detailed syllabus
  • develop PowerPoint, PDF, Flash, & other course documents
  • develop assessment items
  • launch the course using in a Learning Management System or an online system like Blackboard or WebCT
  • adjust instructional strategies according to student interaction and feedback from the instructor
  • collect course feedback through course surveys, email, etc.
  • validate content accuracy and completeness, teaching methods and communication approach
  • revise as necessary

Variations of the ADDIE Model - Most of the current instructional design models are variations of the ADDIE model. One commonly accepted improvement to this model is the use of rapid prototyping: that is, receiving feedback while instructional materials are being created. This model attempts to save time and money by catching problems while they are still easy to fix. For example, the ADDIE model was used in the framework for helping create new research topics in learning technology.

Some ADDIE Model Resources
ADDIE Model on Wikipedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADDIE_Model
ID with the ADDIE Model  http://raleighway.com/addie/
ADDIE Five-Step Method for Instructional Design  http://fog.ccsf.cc.ca.us/~mmalacho/OnLine/ADDIE.html
The ADDIE Model  http://www.instructionaldesignexpert.com/addie.html#.UyzQ9U3naM8
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