Learning Objectives, Assessments, and the In-Between Elearning
If you don’t like your training to falter, and no one likes their training to falter, elevate your learning objectives to the core design imperative of your elearning.
Mager’s measurable learning objectives are more than edicts on how to write your learning objectives (the ABC structure). What’s the point of choosing a measurable verb if you are not going to measure it at all? Oh, so, the verb “discuss” cannot be measured in elearning (if you differ, may you be right!), but much elearning you may see proceeds as a lame discussion or narrator’s monologue with convenient speed breaker quizzes…does it not?
If you intend to measure your learning objectives, are you sure you can differently measure “state” vs. “paraphrase”, “recall” vs. “describe”, “describe” vs. “identify”, “ identify” vs. “recognize”?
Mager’s Learning Objectives and Bloom’s Taxonomy of Mastery Learning (Assessments) is the sacred dyad of instructional design.
Design of instruction is not a complicated process but rather requires rigid adherence to simple rules of systematic design of instruction.
Four Rules to Get Your Training Working:
1) Use measurable verbs when writing your learning objectives.
2) Design assessments help determine if the learning objectives has been achieved.
3) Design feedback to enable successful achievement of learning objectives.
4) Devise practice interactions for mastery learning guidance and opportunities for providing feedback.
If things are looking a bit like Gagne’s events of instruction, remember that the events of instruction are an ideal prescribed sequence for dissemination of instruction and not the design of instruction. Much can go wrong if you were to follow it to devise instruction and indeed, it does for many instructional design novices.
The most common error that arises is that assessments are designed as per the presentation of content rather than as per learning objectives. A good instructional designer will allow the learning objective measuring assessment to be the judge of content sufficiency and adequacy of the learning guidance. Often, it will be found that subject matter experts need to consulted to create a more robust range of examples and non-examples. This awareness of deficient divergence in the example range only becomes apparent if the designers develop assessments to measure learning objectives as the first act of instruction design.