Instructional Objectives

Explained by Common Craft
This video tells the story of an instructor named Mariam. She learns to use instructional objectives to plan her lessons so that her students can demonstrate what they learn in a measurable way.
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Video Transcript:

As an instructor, your job may depend on your ability to educate students to specific standards.

But it can be challenging to know if your students are really understanding the material because learning can seem invisible and difficult to measure. What you need is a way to start lesson plans with goals that are specific and measurable.

Meet Mariam. She’s a great teacher, but she’s not sure she is creating lesson plans that produce measurable results.

Recently she learned about writing instructional objectives, which are basically statements that describe an observable behavior or performance that her students will complete.

For example, Mariam is teaching the concept of the water cycle and needs to show that her students learned the right information.

She would normally start with creating a lesson plan, hoping that it would produce measurable results in the end, but that wouldn’t always work out. This time, she flips the process.

This means she starts with statements of how performance will be measured and then builds a plan around them. That’s the big idea behind writing instructional objectives.

Here’s an example: The student could be asked to draw an accurate model of the water cycle. Notice that the objective is action-oriented. The student needs to draw a model. This objective gives Mariam a starting point to plan how she’ll teach the subject.

While these objectives seem simple, they have real power and must be constructed carefully. Here’s how:

Instructional objectives have three main parts. They are: Condition, Verb, and Criteria. All three must be used together to be effective.

The “condition” describes the circumstance the student is given. For example, the student could be asked a question, provided an object or a set of data. The condition in our example is “the student could be asked to...”

The verb is the observable student behavior. What will the student do that can be observed?
This could be to explain, build, add for example. The verb here is “draw”.

Lastly, the criteria states to what extent the student must perform the verb. This might include information on how, to what degree or at what specificity.

The criteria in our example here is “an accurate model of the water cycle”. Notice that instructional objectives are NOT focused on how Mariam will teach the lesson. They ONLY refer to what the student will do.

Instructional objectives provide a backbone for her lesson planning and help ensure her students can meet specific standards.

For Mariam and many others, instructional objectives have become a valuable tool because they focus her efforts on specific skills and knowledge.

These days, instead of hoping that learning is happening, she creates concrete plans that demonstrate it.


What it teaches:

Today, much of teaching and training is focused on meeting specific standards. Unfortunately traditional lesson planning can leave it unclear if understanding is really happening. Writing instructional objectives has become a useful way for instructors to ensure that their results are specific and measurable.
This video tells the story of an instructor named Mariam. She learns to use instructional objectives to plan her lessons so that her students can demonstrate what they learn in a measurable way. It teaches:

  • Why instructors need measurable results
  • Why instructional objectives are important
  • How instructional objectives inform lesson planning
  • The 3 main parts of instructional objectives

Video Info:

  • Duration:  03m 07s
  • Captions Available:  YES
  • Lesson Plan:  YES
  • Category:  Study Skills

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