A clear learning objective states what the learner will be able to do upon completion of a continuing professional development (CPD) activity, in terms of behavioral change. A clear objective identifies the physician behavior or desired outcome of the educational offering. These behaviors and/or outcomes have been identified through the needs assessment process.
Learning objectives begin with the phrase, “At the conclusion of this activity, participants will be able to ...”
Describe the information, skills, behaviors, or perspectives participants in the session will acquire through attendance and participation. Use verbs that describe an action that can be observed and that is measurable within the time frame of the activity.
Conclude with the specifics of what the learner will be doing when demonstrating achievement or mastery of the objectives. Emphasize what the learner will be able to do as a result of participation in the activity.
Action Verbs for Learning Objectives
Relevant verbs: Recall, identify, recognize, acquire, distinguish, state, define, name, list, label, reproduce, order
Relevant verbs: Translate, extrapolate, convert, interpret, abstract, transform, select, indicate, illustrate, represent, formulate, explain, classify, comprehend
Relevant verbs: Apply, sequence, carry out, solve, prepare, operate, generalize, plan, repair, explain, predict, demonstrate, instruct, compute, use, perform, implement, employ, solve
Relevant verbs: Analyze, estimate, compare, observe, detect, classify, discover, discriminate, explore, distinguish, catalog, investigate, breakdown, order, determine, differentiate, dissect, contrast, examine, interpret
Relevant verbs: Write, plan, integrate, formulate, propose, specify, produce, organize, theorize, design, build, systematize, combine, summarize, restate, argue, discuss, derive, relate, generalize, conclude, produce
Relevant verbs: Evaluate, verify, assess, test, judge, rank, measure, appraise, select, check, judge, justify, evaluate, determine, support, defend, criticize, weigh, assess
Relevant verbs: Agree, avoid, support, participate, cooperate, praise, help, offer, join
Relevant verbs: Adjust, repair, taste, bend, measure, perform, operate, use, move
Avoid using verbs that are difficult to measure objectively. The following verbs are difficult to assess:
Learning Objectives Review Checklist
[ ] Is the learning objective reflective of the needs assessment results?
[ ] Is the learning objective measurable?
[ ] Does the learning objective target one specific aspect of expected performance?
[ ] Does the learning objective utilize an effective, action verb that targets the desired level of performance?
[ ] Is the learning objective learner-centered?
[ ] Do learning objectives measure a range of educational outcomes?
[ ] Does the learning objective match instructional activities and assessments?
[ ] Does the learning objective specify appropriate conditions for performance?
[ ] Is the learning objective written in terms of observable, behavioral outcomes?
Sample Learning Objectives
- At the conclusion of this activity, participants will be able to list three of the currently approved statin drugs.
- At the conclusion of this activity, participants will be able to describe the physical attributes of a school-age child with undiagnosed diabetes.
- At the conclusion of this activity, participants will be able to provide chronic disease management in a planned, proactive manner.