How to define learning objectives?
As an infopreneur, you wear many hats. You’re equal parts businessperson, accountant, creative, and, most importantly, a teacher. Although not every infopreneur comes from an educational background, it’s wise to borrow from education best practices when designing your course content.
One of the most important aspects of creating your eLearning course is defining learning objectives, especially in compact microlearning courses.
What are learning objectives?
A learning objective defines what you want your learners to get out of your course. As the course creator, you can define these objectives by listing the skills, knowledge, or abilities your clients will have once they emerge from your course.
For example, if your course shows learners how to bake a cake, you would list learning objectives like “learn basics of cooking a moist cake,” “learn a fail-safe and delicious frosting,” and “learn how to perfectly ice a cake in 60 seconds.”
Learning objectives are critical to keeping your course on topic. They help you streamline course content and give your clients only the information they need. Learning objectives also help you give learners real value by showing what they get from choosing your course.
Course objectives save time by helping you organize your course layout and content more quickly. If you’re assessing learners in your course, the learning objectives also give you a goal to measure your clients’ progress against. For example, if you want quizzes in your course, you can use these learning objectives to match up quiz answers with how close a user is to achieving those skills.
How to write your learning objectives
We know you probably aren’t a professional educator. Many infopreneurs have never taken the step to write out their learning objectives. However, it’s a critical step to creating professional courses that get results for your clients. Use these tips to write learning objectives that help your clients be more successful (and get you more business!)
Be very specific
You might have heard of “learning goals” before. A learning goal is the broad, overarching goal of the course. Unlike a learning goal, a learning objective is highly specific and detailed. Make your learning objectives narrow and detailed so you can easily measure against them. The more vague your objective, the harder it will be to measure.
Base on behavior
You can only be certain that your users have mastered something if it causes a change in their behavior. For example, you might say your cake-making course attendees will emerge with the ability to bake a cake. In this case, baking a cake is the defined behavior.
Make it measurable
Learning objective are no good if you can’t measure them. But how do you measure complex behaviors? What if your learning objective is to teach your learners how to be autonomous, or how to be more creative?
The best way to measure your learning objectives is to create a rubric. Score the rubric according to your user’s level of comprehension. Learn more about writing a rubric here.
Even with a rubric, you’ll likely need a baseline to measure against. Consider giving your learners a pre-course assessment. This helps you register where they are in their comprehension. In fact, some course creators let users skip sections of the course if the user already shows mastery.
You can also use Bloom’s Taxonomy as a resource for rubric creation. This helps course creators make rubrics that move learners from having knowledge about a subject all the way to creating informed opinions about a subject.
The bottom line
It might seem a little hokey to write out your learning objectives, but this is the key to writing courses that sell. Communicate the precise value you give to clients and they’ll keep coming back for more.