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Perfecting the Art of Learning Objectives January 26, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
Tags: , , ,

I really enjoyed Cammy Bean‘s latest post, Writing Less Objectionable Learning Objectives. Cammy throws open the door for people to discuss how they communicate learning objectives when dealing with a typical (e)learning experience. It’s good to see several different opinions from some respected people in our field – and it made me sit and reflect on how I communicate learning objectives. I hate to say it, but I think this is one of those areas where it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. I don’t know if we’ll ever get everybody to agree on a best practice, but I think it’s healthy that there’s always a discussion about it; this will help all of us move in the right direction over time.

So, how do I communicate learning objectives? I’m glad you asked. 🙂 I admit that many of my eLearning courses simply show a list of objectives to the learner on the second page of the course. For example, the first page presents a description of the course (in paragraph form), and then the objectives would be shown on the next page in the “Upon completion of this course, the learner will be able to…” format. Pretty boring, huh? We’re in the process of migrating to a new course model where the learner will be presented with a mission at the start of the course. They will be assigned tasks that they need to carry out in order to successfully complete their mission. We’re also introducing a secret agent character with our new course model to guide the learner through the experience. (We need to be careful and use the character sparingly; we don’t want the learner to develop a hatred for an annoying character similar to Clippy). I think this will make our courses seem less academic and more…game-like. Again, we may have not achieved the best possible way to communicate learning objectives, but we’re trying different options. And that’s better than staying in a rut, right?

(Make sure to take a look at the comments on Cammy’s post; there’s good stuff there, too.)



1. Carolyn McIntosh - January 26, 2008

Thanks for this. I have commented in my blog, http://mymidiblog.blogspot.com/ . Food for thought as we move more and more into this E’learning environment.

2. Cammy Bean - January 28, 2008

B.J. — I like the idea of a mission with a guided agent. Just make sure it’s not a ‘mission impossible’ — ha!

Cheryl - December 16, 2009

I think that the mission is a great idea. As with everything we develop we must consider the audience and the content. Has anyone ever heard that an elearning lesson should only have a few learning objectives? I don’t agree with that philosophy, but I like the idea of finding an interesting way to let the learner know the purpose of their lesson without a long list.

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