What are learning objectives? Why are learning objectives used? Perhaps you have asked
yourself these or very similar questions. An objective is a description of a performance you want
students to demonstrate before you consider them competent. An objective describes an
intended result of instruction. Objectives provide direction for instruction, guidelines for testing,
and convey instructional intent.
Objectives provide the foundation upon which course
curriculum is built as well as the road map for the delivery of course content. They define what
you will teach and how you will measure student accomplishment of learning objectives. In
addition to having a knowledge of the purposes of objectives, you must have an understanding
of the classifications, elements, and types of learning objectives.
LEARNING OBJECTIVE CLASSIFICATION
Instructional objectives are broadly classified as knowledge or skill objectives. The
Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, was developed to help identify and define instructional
objectives. This classification system, is based on the assumption that learning outcomes can
best be described as changes in student behavior. The taxonomy is divided into three main parts
or domains: (1) the cognitive, (2) the affective, and (3) the psychomotor.
concentrates on the cognitive and psychomotor domains because of their application to Navy
THE COGNITIVE DOMAIN
The cognitive domain contains the following six major categories. The example given in each
category illustrates the level of understanding the student should be able to demonstrate as a
result of the instruction provided.
Knowledge (Level 1)
Knowledge is defined as the remembering of previously learned information. All that is
involved is the recall of the appropriate information. Knowledge represents the lowest level of
learning outcomes in the cognitive domain. Objectives at this level require students to
demonstrate their knowledge of the subject, but not their understanding of it.
EXAMPLE: State the three elements of learning objectives.