Randi Kirkland, Ph.D.
Specific review standards 2.1 and 2.2 are the foundation of the alignment standards for Quality Matters just as the learning objectives are the foundation of course design.
- Standard 2.1 requires that course-level objectives are measurable and precise. These objectives should state what students will be able to do upon successful completion of the course.
- Standard 2.2 requires the module or unit-level objectives are also measurable and precise. Module objectives should also support the course objective. These are the specific and smaller goals students need to achieve to then meet the course objectives.
- Does your school, accrediting body, or other organization mandate the course objectives for your course? That’s ok. If you are not allowed to change the wording of the course objectives, the review will focus on the measurability and precision of the module or unit objectives.
What is a measurable and precise objective? It is an objective that indicates how mastery of the objective can be observed and measured. An example of a course objective for a nutrition course may be that students will be able to “Create an individualized nutrition plan to address client needs.”
- From the verb choice of ‘create,’ we know that the end goal is for the student to develop a plan rather than answer multiple choice questions about someone else’s plan. Looking at the remainder of the objective, we know what the student will create. This objective can inform the choice of assessment. Rather than creating a multiple-choice quiz or exam for the assessment, the students will be required to review client information and create an individualized nutrition plan to address their specific needs.
- Module objectives break down the course objective into more manageable goals that students work on throughout the course. Students may identify certain nutrition concepts in Module 1 and explain how to assess client nutrition needs in Module 3 before developing the client nutrition plan in a later module.
- Do you already have assessments and want to work backward to develop objectives to align with them? Review your assessments. Think about what students are required to do in the assessment. For example, in a statistics class with an assessment requiring students to read a given scenario, have to choose which statistical tests to do, run the test, then answer questions about the test results, course objectives might include “Perform appropriate statistical tests for research studies” and “Draw conclusions from the results of statistical tests.” Quizzes or tests with multiple choice questions about vocabulary or basic concepts may align with objectives that begin with a verb such as recognize or identify. Math problems may align with an objective that begins with verbs such as calculate.
If you would like to work with an instructional designer in eLearning to develop or update your course or module objectives, please submit an Instructional Design Request form.