The curriculum is the goal, or outcome that is desired to be achieved through the instruction. For the instruction to be successful, there needs to be a linear set of standards, or objectives that need to be taught and be assessed to achieve the desired goal of the lesson. There are three main types of objectives that need to be addressed when designing a lesson: Program objective, learning objective, and performance objective. Before addressing these three concepts, there is a need to define the goal(s) of stated objectives.
Gagne’ (1988) states, “Education goals are statements of the outcomes of education” (p. 41). The goal of instruction is to impart a knew skill, capability or concept in a measurable manner. Goals are the expected result of instruction. In the example assigned to this paper, the goal of the course is to teach instructors how to best utilize technology in the classroom with the use of laptops and iPads.
Whereas goals are the destination of the instruction, objectives are the means of getting there. As stated previously, objectives are a set of standards that are to be met through instruction and assessment.
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Program objectives define what content is to be used in the lesson, the time-line for instruction, and what tools and media will be used to achieve the instructional goal. In our example of iPad and laptop instruction, first the instructor needs to evaluate the class and determine what their skills with computers and iPads are.
There may not be a need to cover some of the instruction or there may be a need for some skill building before the planned instruction can start. The instructor also needs to have a time frame, in which the class can reasonably follow, for the lesson progression. Whether it is measured in hours, days, or weeks, the learners need to know how much time they have to learn the skill before assessment is administered.
The instructor also needs to have a plan on which operating systems, software and apps will be used in the instruction and instruct teachers how to integrate them into their lessons. In recent years, schools have gone more tech oriented and teachers need instruction on how to incorporate the devices into the learning process.
In short, the program objectives are to teach instructors, in a timely fashion, how to: use laptops and iPads for designing lessons, incorporating technology into existing lessons, maintaining and updating devices, and familiarizing instructors with apps and programs so they can better utilize the technology.
Learning objectives come in many terms such as benchmark, standard, and performance indicator. Whichever term is used, the intended purpose of the learning objectives is to define what the student is expected to learn. According to FLDOE.org (2018), “Learning objectives
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should break down the task and focus on specific cognitive processes”. Learning objectives give structure to the program objectives through defining the specific skills and knowledge to be learned and how the lessons will be sequenced.
Stating only that the instructors will learn to and understand how to use an iPad is not an example of a learning objective. Learning objectives are specific knowledge and skills that are targeted for learning. Examples for this would include: selecting and deploying the appropriate applications, managing the steady flow of updates, assigning and submitting assignments electronically, and how to diversify the lessons to accommodate students’ learning needs. Sequencing would also be addressed by teaching the lessons in a proper order. It would not be effective to teach how to diversify and accommodate the applications before teaching which applications are appropriate for the lessons.
Performance objectives are exactly what it states: performing learned knowledge and skills through an action. Gagne argues that the “five-component objective” is the best approach for performance objectives. The five components he lists are: Situation, Learned Capability Verb, Object, Action Verb, and Tools, Constraints or Special Conditions.
“What is the stimulus situation faced by the student?” (Gagne, p. 123). The situation can be defined as the circumstances of the instructional objective. What is being offered? Under what
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condition is the instruction or assessment is being administered? Using our example, the situation is “using an iPad” or “using a computer”.
Learned Capability Verb (LCV)
This component deals with how the situation is applied. Gagne states that there are nine standard verbs that are used: discriminate, identify, classify, demonstrate, generate, adopt, state, execute, and choose. Gagne (1988) states, “By including one of these verbs in the objective, the intended behavior is more clearly communicated, and the conditions of learning appropriate to that type of learning outcome are more readily applied” (p. 125). For our example, demonstrate, generate, chose, and execute would most likely be the actions used.
The object is the actual learned item or behavior that the learner is applying with the LCV. It can also be described as the learning objective that the learner will demonstrate. Using our example, how to assign and submit assignments electronically using the laptop and iPad would be the object of the performance objective.
Gagne (1988) explains, “The action verb describes how the performance is to be completed…” (p. 125). There are many different action verbs that can be used depending on the task.
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Hypothesizing, solving, and typing are considered action verbs. In our example, the learner so far has been instructed to demonstrate how to assign and submit an assignment. Applicable action verbs would be “upload” or “download”.
Tools, Constraints, or Special Conditions
This title is self-explaining. This section deals with the conditions, the limitations and the applicable media of the objective. In our example, iPads and laptops are the tools that are being used in this lesson. A constraint is the time frame that the teachers are limited to for the instruction. From personal experience, most of these types of training exercises and courses are limited to just a few hours, or at most, one day.
The outcome of the five-point approach for our example is, “Using an iPad or Laptop, the teacher will demonstrate how to assign and submit a lesson electronically by uploading the assignment in the fewest steps possible”.
Properly defining goals is the first step to designing an instructional plan. Program objectives are a general outline of what it takes to reach that goal. The learning objectives are the specific skills and knowledge objectives that are used to meet the program objectives. Following the five-step performance objective model, learners should be able to easily understand what learning outcomes they are required to demonstrate at the end of instruction.