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Developing A Tool for Educational” Learner” Objectives

Objectives are specific, measurable statements of what you wish to accomplish through your intervention by a given point in time; they are targeted outcomes focused on units of solution; they should be “SMART.”

S pecific: states exactly what is to be accomplished

M easurable: can be quantified; based on a standard

A ttainable: feasible; achievable

R elative: matched to needs and interests of the priority population

T ime-framed: stated in specific time limits

Types of objectives

Programmatic (administrative): written from the manager’s perspective

· Quantitative (how many; how much)

· Qualitative (how efficient)

Educational (behavioral): written from the learner’s perspective

Cognitive (knowledge based)

Affective (attitude/values based)

Psychomotor (behavior/skill based)

The ABCs of Good Educational (Behavioral/Learner) Objective Writing

There is nothing more critical to public health intervention planning than a well-written objective. It is the heart of the program, at once directing the instruction and guiding the evaluation. When writing it, remember the problem is undesirable, but the objective is desirable. State all objectives in terms of positive, measurable, future targets. A good objective includes all of the following elements:

A udience: Who will do the desired action?

B ehavior: What is the desired action (knowledge, attitude, or behavior)?

C onditions: How will the objective be evaluated?

D egree: How many and how much is required (criteria for success)?

E nd point: When will the objective be measured (time frame)?

Important Tips on Writing Good Objectives for this Learning Activity

  1. Address a secondary or contributing risk factor. Limiting the scope of your program and its supporting objectives is an important step in making them realistic and attainable. While your ultimate goal may be to reduce or even eliminate the undesired problem stated in the health determinate, your focus is on addressing its causes or risk factors.
  2. Focus on immediate results. Write objectives that will measure short-term impact of your intervention rather than long-range outcomes. Think of measuring your objectives immediately after your intervention ends.
  3. Write from a learner’s perspective. State what your program participants must know or believe or feel or do in order to successfully achieve the objective. Include only 1 action for each objective—no “and’s” allowed.
  4. Include measurable criteria for success for the degree. Commonly used criteria may be based on any of the following:

a. arbitrary standards – apparently picked out of the air

b. science – empirical research as reported in the scientific literature

c. history – temporal trends or past experience

d. norms – experiences or results in related areas or similar programs

e. consensus – derived from compromise and endorsement

  1. Begin with the end in mind. It often helps to state right at the front of the objective when it is to be accomplished, and therefore measured. Sometimes a series of related objectives are introduced by a common time statement such as, “By the end of the program participants will…”
  2. End with the evaluation in hand. Stating the conditions under which the objective will be measured is a helpful way to prepare it for use in evaluations of program effectiveness.

Sample Learner Objectives – Except for the specifics, here is what your objective should look like:

By the end of the program, 75% of participants will have recognized the times during the day that they eat between meals, as measured by a 7-day food diary.

By January 2013, 25% of current cigarette smokers in Lynchburg, VA will have expressed a willingness to consider quitting smoking, as measured by calls to the regional Tobacco QuitLine.

By the end of the program, 80% of the student’s in Ms. Jones’ fourth grade class will be able to wash their hands well enough to remove all signs of visible dirt, as measured by physical inspection.

Write one educational “learner” objective to address a secondary or contributing risk factor for your target health determinant.

Check your objective for completeness and correctness:

Is it stated as a complete, declarative sentence?

Does it contain all the ABCDE (who/whom, what, how, how much, & when) elements?

.Does it describe a desired future state, rather than an activity or process?

.Does it describe a situation acceptable to (“owned” by) stakeholders in the priority population?

.Have you identified appropriate standards or criteria for success? Are the targets attainable? Will they measure what you want them to?

Topic: Learner Objectives

In this learning activity, you will write good learner objectives. Well-written educational (learner) objectives are the heart of your program intervention. Use the “Tool for Developing Educational Objectives” attachment to develop 1 learner objective to address a secondary or contributing risk factor that you identified in the “Risk Relationship Chart” you prepared about the health determinant you chose.

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