Writing in Bloom: Writing Measurable Learning Objectives

Vintage floral taxonomy illustration

FIU Online’s monthly Faculty Webinar series explores relevant instructional strategies and effective ways to use technology in an online classroom. The third webinar in the series,“Writing Measurable Learning Objectives”, provided faculty with tools for writing improved objectives that are measurable, precise, and clear at both the course and module/unit-level.

 

Instant Replay: Writing in Bloom

Presenter Karina Ocampo, an FIU Online Instructional Design Manager, showcased how well-written, measurable learning objectives are key to developing quality online courses. If you missed this webinar, you can view the recording or read some of the key takeaways below.

 

What is a learning objective?

A learning objective is a brief statement that specifically describes what the learner will be able to perform by the end of the lesson, unit, project, or course.

Learning objectives should be learner-centric, and should start with language that dictates what the learner will gain from the lesson. (ex: After this module, the learner should be able to…)

Learning objectives should also be SMART- specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

 

Why do measurable learning objectives matter?

Measurable learning objectives provide students with what is expected of them within a course. They clarify what a student is expected to learn after engaging with instructors, peers, course content and assignments. 

 

How to write measurable objectives:

There are two main criteria to consider when developing a measurable learning objective

  • Utilization of observable actions (refer to Bloom’s Taxonomy below) 
  • Specific criteria of performance

 

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Bloom’s Taxonomy features a hierarchy of cognitive skills that allow students to apply what they have learned. Here is a helpful introduction on how to apply Bloom’s Taxonomy in the digital age

A pyramid diagram featuring the levels of Bloom's taxonomy
(Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching 2001)

Examples of measurable verbs and phrases:

  • Reproduce
  • Summarize
  • Demonstrate
  • Design
  • Compare

Examples of verbs and phrases to avoid

  • Understand
  • Appreciate
  • Value
  • Gain awareness

Understand is a verb we cannot measure. How can we tell understanding has taken place? If it is because a learner can describe something, then describe should be the measurable verb we use; if it is because the learner can calculate a math problem correctly, then calculate should be the action verb we use.

What does a measurable learning objective look like?

Measurable objectives that are specific and easy to measure include:

  • After this module, the learner should be able to orally present a new patient’s case in a logical manner by summarizing the pertinent positive and negative findings
  • After this module, the learner should be able to analyze and respond to arguments about racial discrimination
  • Upon completing this course, students should be able to summarize the effect of immigration on American culture

Course Alignment

When writing measurable learning objectives, instructors should also consider how each activity within their course aligns with these objectives. Instructors will also want to consider how the assessments within their course show that the learning objectives have been met. Diagram depicting an example of objective alignment

Assessments should reveal how well students have learned what we want them to learn while instruction ensures that they learn it. Assessments, learning objectives, and instructional strategies need to be closely aligned so that they reinforce one another.

example of a completed course alignment map

 


Future Faculty Webinars

Be on the lookout for FIU Online’s future webinars on instructional strategies and effective ways to use technology in your online classroom. If you have any ideas for future webinar topics, we’d love to hear them. Contact Christina Schettini (cschetti@fiu.edu) to share your ideas for future webinar topics. 

Read our other faculty webinar instant replay articles:

Christina Schettini is a Project Manager for the FIU Online Instructional Design team. Through her work, she supports the development of effective and engaging learning experiences in the online modality.

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