Documentation:ISW/Lesson Plan/Core Lesson Components/Online/Learning Objectives

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This online module uses the ISW BOPPPS model as a lesson planning framework.

Online Component

Time to Complete

15 minutes

Learning Objectives

By the end of this module you will be able to tailor your learning objective (LO) to engage different domains and depths of learning using the action verbs provided in this module


Consider your current teaching practice and courses that you have taken as learner. In your opinion,

  • What is the advantage of learning objectives from the perspective of your learners?
  • What is the advantage of learning objectives, from the instructor's perspective?


What are learning objectives?

Learning objectives are specific, measurable, short-term, observable learner behaviours.

An effective learning objective includes the following three key elements:

   Performance: What must the learner do to demonstrate learning?            
   Conditions: What are the conditions/constraints under which the learner is expected to perform? (e.g. in the field, in the lab, on an exam)
   Criteria: What is the performance standard? How well it needs to be done to demonstrate learning?

How to write learning objectives?

Always express learning objectives in terms of learner performance, behavior, and achievement, and NOT instructor activity.

It is important to keep in mind that the specificity of the learning objectives depends on what they are intended for. Objectives for a specific unit or module in the course will likely be more general/broad than for those used in a single lesson.

The learning objective must be clear, attainable, and focused on knowledge or skill acquisition or reinforcement. Words such as know, learn, or understand are not demonstrable and should be avoided. It is helpful to consider Bloom's Taxonomy and associated action words (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..


Please watch this video to learn about Bloom's Taxonomy of verbs. This will be useful to you as you construct meaningful learning objectives for your course.



Review the list of Bloom's Taxonomy Action Verbs.

Consider your own teaching practice. Think of a topic you might teach - create a LO that includes all three key elements of an effective LO and share them below in the reply comment box.

Go Further

  • Jonassen D. & Tessmer M. (1996). Outcomes-Based Taxonomy for Instructional Systems Design, Evaluation and Research. Training Research Journal, Educational Technology Publications. Volume 2.
  • Shephard, K. (2008). Higher Education for Sustainability: Seeking Affective Learning Outcomes, in International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 9(1).
  • Waller, K. V. (Undated). Writing Educational Objectives. National Accrediting Agency for the Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).
  • For a great list of verbs in the cognitive, psycho-motor and affective domains, see BCIT Handout on Writing Learning Outcomes

Module Credits

This module has been designed by the Graduate Student Facilitators at the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT) at UBC- Vancouver