Learning Objectives – Let’s get creative.

By the end of this article, you will be able to

  • Discuss relevance of learning objectives in their present form
  • Discuss creative ways of writing learning objectives


Okay…now that I have told you what this article is about? Do you want to read it? Maybe. Are you motivated to read it? Not really.

Precisely what Andy McGuire, Director of Global Learning and Development in Corporate Human Resources at Cummins, Inc. discusses in the blog on Bottom-Line Performance

Every time you start with a course, it is important for the learner to know what he will gain from the course and what the material presented to him will be about. Therefore we outline learning objectives for every elearning course which we design.

Still as Andy McGuire says it is time to do away with presenting learning objective’s in a bulleted list. Its time to present them creatively to the learner. Let’s tell the learner what he will learn but tell it in a different manner.

Recently, I reviewed storyboards for a course on teaching computers to young children. As an ID reviewer, the course was my worst nightmare come true. Forget about the overall strategy used, the course did not have any clearly mentioned goal or objectives, apart from being badly written. Half of it was already produced. The theme however was creative and the presentation of graphics was good. I was presented with the challenge to redo the course in an acceptable manner and ‘rescue’ it. After the deed was done. Well, I accepted the challenge.


I started by trying to frame objectives to tell children what they will be learning. Bulleted points with Blooms became irrelevant. The storyboard writers did not understand Bloom. They had no clue what I wanted when I asked for learning objectives. But the writers are creative. And have good ideas. I sat in a training session with them and explained why I needed them to outline objectives in each screen. It was tough.

So I came up with a plan. I told them you need to write objectives because you need to outline what you will teach the child in the course and in the storyboard that you are going to write. Okay. That made sense to them. Objectives

A new learning here – learning objectives have a two-fold aim. Objectives outline what you aim to teach in the course. This helps you design and plan content better. At the same time you tell the learner what  he or she will learn, if or when he completes the course.

But that was not enough. The problem was how to write objectives by incorporating them within the introductory dialogue in the beginning of each module. So I decided to write the objectives for them and ask them to re-script the course wherever possible.

My first review task was to creatively incorporate the objectives with the ‘Bloom tag and base’ into the dialogue. It was challenging at first, but more and more I realized that telling the learner what he is going to learn is conversing directly with the learner.So, all we need to keep in mind is to create an interesting conversation with the learner on what the course is all about.creative objectives

And quit worrying too much about the bulleting and adding the tag sentence of “by the end of the course/lesson…” Believe me, that sentence has become the biggest put off in my life.

Andy McGuire also talks of involving the learners a little more by discussing the need to learn as well creating a scenario of their current situation and how they will change it after the course.

It’s time to get creative with our objectives. It definitely takes away the monotony of the course beginning in many elearning courses.


One thought on “Learning Objectives – Let’s get creative.

  1. Christine OMalley

    Thank you for this post. I am critiquing an e-learning course and it uses the typical things you refer to here. As I look at that dull bullet point listing, I thought to myself, there must be a more creative way to present learning objectives, and so I Googled, and you confirmed my inklings.

    Google and Ye Shall Receive 🙂


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