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How To Write Aims and Objectives for eLearning Courses

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Aims and objectives can sometimes be incredibly confusing but every eLearning course needs to have them. Here's an explanation of what they are, why they're needed and a simple way to write aims and objectives for eLearning courses.

An easy and simple way to understand and write aims and objectives for your eLearning course

What are aims and objectivesAn aim is the one overall thing that you want to achieve in your course. An aim is usually a broad overall statement of what will be achieved. The aim tells your learners what they will gain from the eLearning course.e.g. At the end of reading this article the learner should understand aims and objectives for eLearning courses.Learning objectives are a breakdown of this aim and are more actionable. These are usually measurable. Learning objectives tell your learners what they will do / learn to reach the aim.

e.g.

  1. At the end of reading this article the learner should understand the difference between an aim and an objective for eLearning courses.
  2. At the end of reading this article the learner should be able to write a simple aim for an eLearning course
  3. At the end of reading this article the learner should be able to write a simple objective for an eLearning course.

It's a bit like a stepladder. The aim is the top step that you want to reach. The learning objectives are the different steps that give you the ability and skills to reach the top step. The learning objectives support the aim.Aims and objectives should guide your eLearning strategies and eLearning assessment. Everything should stem from these statements.

5 Important reasons to have aims and objectives at your eLearning courseWhen developing an eLearning course you need to be clear about what you are doing. Writing down an aim helps this clarity and can also help you to focus if you ever have a 'can't see the forest for the trees' moment.

Aims and objectives will:

  1. help define your eLearning course
  2. help keep your planning eLearning strategies on track
  3. be in line with educational philosophy
  4. help define your eLearning assessment
  5. tell the learner exactly what to expect

How to write aims and objectives for your eLearning course

This is probably one of the most difficult things to do, but the good news is that you can revise and rewrite your aims and learning objectives, at the end of developing the eLearning course.Some people like to write the aims and objectives at the very start of planning their eLearning course, others like to write them at the end. An an eLearning specialist I am suggesting:

  1. writing them at the beginning of your eLearning course design,
  2. reviewing them when everything is ready, and
  3. before launching your eLearning course for the first time.

How to actually write the statements

- Have a think about what the learners should be able to do at the end of your eLearning course and write that down as an aim. Try starting off with“The aim of this eLearning course is to....” You can edit and revise this statement.  Don't make this any longer than two sentences.- Make the objectives things that can be assessed along the learning path. These will also help keep the learner on track. Try starting off with“The learner should be able to...”  Three or four objectives is a good number. Don't have any more than seven.

- Find the perfect verb. A verb is a 'doing word' and will describe not just how to do something but also how to understand something. Here are few to get you thinking:

  • describe,
  • identify,
  • contrast,
  • perceive,
  • influence,
  • determine,
  • disassemble,
  • construct,
  • recognize.

If you're stuck find a big list of verbs and see if any apply to your learning situation. One of the best places to look is Bloom's taxonomy. Go through the higher levels and read the related verbs. Iowa State University has a fun interactive page to help with Bloom's. Please check A Model of Learning Objectives. Relate your verb to the task at hand. e.g. The learner should be able to describe the difference between fruit and vegetables.Most of all make sure that your objectives are realistic, that they can be achieved.At the end of your eLearning course/project... you should assess whether you have met the objectives. Your overall method of assessment should be created towards achieving the objectives and the aim.You may not always meet your aims/objectives. This makes the perfect opportunity to review your eLearning course and see what needs to be changed and what is working successfully.

Good luck!