Content selected for courses and the presentation in the course design are in place to provide rigor, challenging and motivating learning opportunities that encourage, engage learners, and stimulate deeper learning.

Oftentimes students view assignments as busy work or a heavy workload. This usually occurs when students do not see the relationship between the reading, lecture, and practice activities for them to be able to demonstrate a level of mastery for learning. It may seem that students are more interested in their grade than grasping and retaining tacit knowledge that goes beyond the test. Learning objectives can help learners see the relationship and make connections to what is expected in the reading, assignments, videos, discussion opportunities as they all prepare them to for the assessment and focused on the course content.

Learning objectives are written to the level of learning expected for learners to demonstrate mastery. Bloom's Taxonomy is a classification of six level of skills that identifies the level of learning tool that is used to help write learning objectives, questions, and levels of assessments. This Bloom's Taxonomy Cheat Sheet written by Francie Kugelman, illustrates how quiz questions and discussion questions could help learners demonstrate their level of mastery on assignments and assessments.


Level - AreaKnowledge Measurements
Level I - Knowledge recalling fundamental facts, terms, basic concepts
Level II - Comprehension organizing, comparing, translating, interpreting, giving descriptors
Level III - Application solve problems by applying acquired knowledge, facts, techniques
Level IV - Analysis Illustrate cause and effect, make inferences and support reasoning
Level V - Synthesis compile reports, create or design using concepts, develop, plan, or predict outcomes
Level VI - Evaluation defend opinions, make judgment, show validity of ideas

For instance, if higher order thinking is what will be measured in the assessment, then the learning objective would be written on levels four through six. The higher the level, the more in depth the learner will demonstrate their knowledge and ability to support their reasoning.

If the learning objective states that the learner will be able to identify the three general classes of neurons, then a multiple-choice question would be appropriate on an exam. However, if the learning objective states that the learner will be able to compare and contrast the thee general classes of neurons, then the assessment should provide opportunity for the learner to write their answer. This could be done in a discussion board, essay question on a quiz, or a written assignment. Likewise, if the learning objective states that the learner will be able to explain the three general classes of neurons, the assessment instrument must allow learners the opportunity to write or provide a video presentation or audio file of them explaining their point or create a PowerPoint presentation to meet the level of the objective.

Therefore, writing learning objectives that focus learners on the right level of assessment expectations and writing questions using Bloom’s Taxonomy will help keep learners engaged with course content, interacting with peers using the new concepts in discussion boards, and being prepared for the exam. In doing so, the course will provide rigor, challenging and motivating learning opportunities that encourage, engage learners, and stimulate deeper learning and knowledge retention.