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Three Steps to Learning Objectives
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Three Steps to Learning Objectives

Instructional designers have many ways of arriving at learning objectives for the competencies (outcomes) they’ve written.   Here’s one approach.

  1. Perform an instructional analysis. Analyze the competency to identify the supporting skills, knowledge and attitudes needed to perform the comptency.If it helps, you can use a table to make a list:

    Competency: Interview for a job




    • Introduce yourself.
    • Describe your relevant work experience, skills, and abilities.
    • Describe your education and training.
    • Relate your skills to the employer's needs.
    • Purpose of a job interview
    • Concept of the "two-way interview"
    • Facts and information regarding your education and previous experience


    • A positive self-image
    • Cope with nervousness and stress during the interview
    • Willingness to tell the truth


  2.  Identify prerequisites. What skills should learners have mastered before they take your course? If a skill, knowledge, or attitude is a prerequisite, you won’t include it as a learning objective for your competency.
  3. Write learning objectives. Work toward two to ten learning objectives per competency. If your instructional analysis table has many detailed items, consider combining the ones that are really low level. From the example above, some items could be combined into one learning objective: “prepare responses to potential job interview questions.”

WIDS offers a variety of online instructional design courses -- Writing Learning Outcomes will get you started! 

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