How to Develop Student Learning Objectives | UWF online (2023)

In the past, in teacher-centered classrooms, instructors determined what students needed to learn and then measured their students' progress against those goals. However, today's students need to learn how to set and develop their own smart learning goals.

Increasingly, responsibility for learning rests with students. Developing a curriculum is much more effective when the educator knows the learning outcomes of their students. Teachers can identify and define learning outcomes, teach students to define their own goals, and best use them in curriculum development.

The Anatomy of Impactful Learning Objectives

In its simplest form, student learning objectives determine what students learn, and setting them allows teachers and students to focus on the most important educational content.

Goals should be formed using the acronym SMARTER, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely, Evaluated, and Reviewed. SMARTER goals help students and teachers sharpen their focus and create assessments that are fairer than unwritten or set expectations.

When educators teach students how to define their learning objectives, they begin with the question, "What do you want to know by the end of this course?" This question goes a long way toward creating a specific, measurable goal.

Typically, these objectives should start with a verb like "calculate" or "apply". It is something the student must be able to do, not just something he or she knows and can regurgitate. Typically, targets include lower-order and higher-order abilities based on Bloom's taxonomy. Some examples might include basic knowledge like "list" or "describe" along with application words like "contrast" or "criticism".

Learning objectives work in a three-tier structure:

  • Activity level goals:These small objectives address the results of specific small portions of the course.
  • Unit or Topic Level Goals:These medium objectives focus on general knowledge about atopy within the course.
  • Objectives at course level:These are larger goals and determine what constitutes overall success in the course.

Educators and students develop course content around each of these three levels.

Types of learning objectives

The best learning objectives are personal and tailored to each student's needs, opportunities, strengths, and weaknesses. While it may be easier to set broad-based ambitions, it is generally not as effective as creating student-specific goals. Some educators call them "personal learning objectives" rather than goals. Personal learning objectives typically include six types of goals, according to an article onblog de Classcraft.

1. Short term goals

Unlike goals that the student only achieves at the end of the course, short-term goals give the student something to celebrate along the way. They work especially well with younger students who may not have the patience or timing to understand a 10 or 18 week goal.

However, older students also relish the chance to pick up a few wins along the way. An example of a short-term goal for an elementary school student might be to read a chapter of a book every night for a week. A short-term goal for a high school student might be to choose a college.

Short-term goals don't have to focus solely on academics. The student's short-term goals can be personal, relational, emotional, or professional. Any course can equip students to grow in all these areas in some way. Students simply need to determine their definition of success in the area they want to achieve and create steps to get there.

2. Long-term goals

Long-term goals are goals that students work to complete over the course of a semester or even an entire school year. Sometimes several short-term goals can lead to one long-term goal. In all cases, the long-term goal should include benchmarks and a timeline.

Students and teachers can use benchmarks to compare the progress they are making with the progress they expect to make. They can use the schedule to ensure they stay on target to reach the goal in the agreed time frame. Examples of long-term learning goals for students at any level might be improving a two-letter class grade for the semester.

3. Work habits

While short-term and long-term goals focus on what information the student learns, work habits goals emphasize how the student learns. The purpose of setting work habit goals is to help students identify their own areas of weakness and establish benchmarks for improvement. A good work habits goal might have to do with staying on task longer, working independently more often, or starting projects earlier.

Using a self-assessment chart, students can measure their own progress against expected results in this area.A self-assessment checklistYou can help students break down their ambitions by topic, phrase them correctly, and then give them three or four options to determine for themselves how well they are doing.

4. Thematic areas

Teachers set subject learning objectives in accordance with textbooks or in alignment with national, state, or district standards. Some educators may adapt these expected outcomes to their specific lessons, but in general, subject area objectives need to follow previously agreed content recall and skill development.

Students who set subject area goals simply identify the specific subject area in which they plan to improve. The challenge with subject area goals is to create the SMARTER steps that lead to student improvement. Students can select a topic they want to improve their grade on, or they can choose a topic they find particularly interesting to increase their level of knowledge.

5. Behavioral goals

Behavior goals are related to social conduct and behavior management in the classroom. This might include being more patient with peers or being more courteous with teachers. Students and teachers can set these goals privately, or a behavior goal can be applied to the whole class. Parents can often be involved in helping students set, work on, and ultimately achieve behavioral goals.

As with work habits, behavioral goals are often best evaluated by students themselves, working with resources provided by the teacher. Few students will find motivation to achieve behavioral goals unless they are intimately involved in setting them and evaluating their own progress toward them.

6. Specific knowledge objectives

Students can set a personal goal related to specific knowledge they want to acquire in a field or subject. This objective can be in addition to any other list of learning objectives for students in a course. Students can even set specific knowledge goals in pairs or small groups and work on them together. Teachers can help students set and achieve specific knowledge goals by allocating class time for students to focus on activities that help them achieve those goals.

Defining the learning objective Outcome

How does an educator determine what he wants students to know or do by the end of the course?

It's a great concept, but writing a learning objective can be broken down into a series of practical steps:

  • Determine the most important concepts covered in the course.
  • Establish evaluable definitions and metrics for concepts.
  • Consider which questions a student should be able to answer by the end of the course.
  • Determine the most important skills a student must develop and apply.
  • Ask how your course will help students develop these skills.
  • Consider any emotional goals for the course. For example, do you want to create a goal for students to learn to love the subject?

One way that educators go through this process is to design their courses backwards. Using this approach, educators start with what they want to learn, or what the students themselves want to learn. From there, the teacher and student consider the skills needed to achieve that learning goal. At that point, the teacher can determine what content will help develop those skills.

Teachers who set learning goals create lessons in which students achieve mastery. Educators who go beyond this focus and help students define their own learning goals also create lifelong learners.

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