in Teaching Strategies

How To Write Clear Lesson Objectives

Lesson Objectives. As educators, we use them everyday to guide our practice and student learning. We read them, write them, and post them in our classrooms. They should be simple enough to write, right? Think again! While objectives seem simple enough to execute, they can be quite tricky to write. 

Why is it essential to write clear and meaningful objectives? Well-written objectives provide direction to instruction, guidelines for assessment, and provide instructional intent to others. Let’s parse this out. 

Objectives Provide Direction to Instruction 

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Objectives give educators guidance, and keep teachers and students on track. A well-written objective provides a clear picture to both teacher and student as to what is occuring. Well-written objectives eliminate confusion.

Objectives Provide Guidelines for Assessment

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A well-written objective will allow teachers to easily assess student learning, and gauge learning outcomes. For students, the objectives will set expectations for what they will learn, and what content needs to be mastered. 

Objectives Provide Instructional Intent to Others

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An effective objective communicates the focus and purpose of the lesson, regardless of audience. Another instructor, administrator, and even students themselves can understand what learning goals and outcomes are anticipated from the lesson. 

How to Write an Objective

Objectives are such valuable parts of lesson planning and execution. Where do you start? Objectives must be specific, measurable, short-term, and observable. Seems simple enough, but that’s a lot of information to pack into a single sentence or two. How do you create a well-written objective? 

Ask yourself, “What should the student be able to do?” 

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Remember, objectives must be measurable. Avoid using words like “understand”, “think”, “be aware of”, “learn”, and “have knowledge of” as these behaviors cannot be measured. 

Utilize Bloom’s Taxonomy 

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If finding a measurable action is challenging, turn to Bloom’s Taxonomy! The chart below provides great verbiage to include into your objective. This list of Bloom’s Taxonomy verbs allows you to identify your student’s mastery and skill level and craft a high quality lesson. 

Learning levelAssociated action verbs
Knowledgedefine, describe, state, list, name, write, recall, recognize, label, underline, select, reproduce, outline, match
Comprehensionidentify, justify, select, indicate, illustrate, represent, name, formulate, explain, judge, contrast, classify
Applicationpredict, select, assess, explain, choose, find, show, demonstrate, construct, compute, use, perform
Analysisanalyze, identify, conclude, differentiate, select, separate, compare, contrast, justify, resolve, break down, criticize
Synthesiscombine, restate, summarize, precise, argue, discuss, organize, derive, select, relate, generalize, conclude
Evaluationjudge, evaluate, determine, recognize, support, defend, attack, criticize, identify, avoid, select, choose

Use the Phrase, “Students will be able to…” 

If all else fails, begin your objective this way. What is it that you want your students to be able to do during and after the lesson?  A well-written objective will have four parts, it will state the audience (students), provide a measurable and observable behavior, and describe the circumstances, and describe the degree in which students will perform. For example, an objective could read, “Students will be able to write three differnt color codes in their Ozobot journal with no errors.”  

Let’s put it to the test. Are these well-written objectives? 

Students will understand how an Ozobot works. 

No! “Understand” is not measurable in this context. 

Students will enjoy coding Ozobot. 

No! While you could argue that at teacher could observe a student “enjoying” something, it’s not measurable. 

Students will write three pieces of code. 

No! While this objective is measurable, it does not provide circumstances or a degree to which students will perform. This could be re-written as “Students will write one program with three pieces of code in sequential order using Ozoblockly. 

Congrats! Now you know how to identify and write a well-written objective. What objectives can you think of for some Ozobot Lessons? Visit the Lesson Submission Tool  to create a new lesson with your spectacular objective!