Pick Your Next Learning Objective — Challenge #2

This week’s challenge is meant to help you focus your next lesson. Last week’s challenge was for you to choose your learning management system (LMS) for the year. If your LMS is your class’s online home base, the learning objectives are the missions. This week’s challenge is to help you focus your next learning objective so that you can save time and reach a greater impact with your students.

Working On Your Classroom

I once read a book about running a small business called The E-Myth. In it, the author suggested that first-time business owners worry too much about working in the business rather than on the business. His message was clear, don’t just carry out the day to day tasks, focus on the bigger picture.

As teachers, there is just so much to do everyday. We spend our time preparing lessons, uploading material to our websites, responding to emails, and giving students feedback. Of course, when we are not preparing to teach, we are actually teaching.

We can get so caught up in trying to actually teach our courses that we sometimes loose sight of where we are taking our students. It is when we lose sight of where we are headed, that we lose effeciency and effectiveness. The good part is that as easy as it is to lose our direction, it is just as easy to find it again. Learning objectives can do that. They ground the lessons we create and the objectives we set on real outcomes.

This Week’s Challenge

This week, spend a couple of minutes to reflecting on your next couple of lessons. What is it that you want students to achieve? Your challenge this week is to pick your next learning objective for your next lesson/unit.

You are going to want to state it clearly in a single sentence. Everything you do in that lesson will be to help your students to learn your objective.

For instance, my next learning objective is for a lesson covering the Enlightenment and the European monarchies that supported it.

My learning objective is

Students will be able to research the three “Enlightened Monarchies” of 18th century Europe using online sources and identify the ways they supported enlightenment ideas.

Learning objectives clarify what students will be able to physically do at the end of a lesson. They also communicate to students exactly what they will gain from your lesson.

Tips For This Week’s Challenge

  • If you are looking for more background on learning objectives, check out this post.
  • A learning objective is made up of 3 parts. 1) skill learner will be able to do. 2) describes the context. 3) describes how the student will demonstrate their ability. You can see all three parts in the example above.
  • Don’t use “understand” as an objective. Such as “student understands the monarchies and the enlightenment.” This is too vague and says nothing about how “understanding” can be measured. It is impossible to observe a student “knowing” or “understanding”. Pick an objective that involves students completing a physical action that you could observe.
  • If you are stuck for action words for intellectual activities, consider words like identify, classify, demonstrate, or generate.
  • A fantastic book on this is called The Systematic Design of Instruction. It covers every aspect to designing online lessons.

Share Your Expertise

  • Comments: Use the comments section below to share a link/screenshot to your example.
  • Forums: Start  your own thread and share a link to your example.
  • Personal blog:  If you have a blog, please consider writing about your challenges. I’ll link back to your posts so the great work you’re sharing gets even more exposure.
  • Twitter: If you share your examples on Twitter, tweet me @MJ_Linane so I can link back to your tweet.
  • Facebook: Share your work on Guildway’s Facebook page by replying to this Facebook post with a link to your example.

I wish you all an awesome and successful week!


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