My recent post on alternatives to listing out learning objectives generated a lot of interest and a good conversation. ( See My Objection to Learning Objectives.)
I attempt to summarize here, but feel free to go back to the original post and read all the comments:
- Clive Shepherd hates when learning objectives are the first thing you see. It's like the opening credits of a movie. Boring. When clients insist on the objectives list, Clive includes an opening scene to spice things up.
- Karl Kapp suggests starting off a course with a series of questions related to the objectives, or to start off with a scenario. [In the comments of this post, Karl clarifies: he's not suggesting pre-test questions, but rather a series of thought-provoking questions to get the learner to THINK about the content at hand].
- Jay Cross says it's "presumptuous and confining for developers to foist objectives on learners, for it disregards the learner's needs, prior learning, and context." He suggests a list of potential outcomes with check boxes, effectively allowing the learner to create his or her own objectives.
- Chris refers us to Will Thalheimer's “The Learning Benefit of Questions”, in which Will argues that introductory questions have a notable impact on learning. Chris suggests that a reasonable alternative to the “At the end of this class you will be able to” list is a series of questions. Chris is also a big fan of Michael Allen.
- Pete Blair always includes the objectives. "Personally, I don't like to hide things from learners and play guessing games, so I am an advocate of letting the learner know, up front, what they will be expected to do at the conclusion of the course, lesson, or whatever. If they choose to skip that part of the course, then that's OK by me, they must still meet the objective(s) before they complete the course."
"...throw out the crutches we’ve used in the past, like starting every unit with objectives that make sense to designers. You can write objectives in a different way so they fit with a context of why you want to learn something. There are better ways to do some of the things we’ve been doing. You can just throw some of that out though. Think like a learner. Give them a challenge at the beginning so they experience what they have to learn instead of just telling them what they need to learn."How do you try to think like a learner? Have you come up with some novel way to handle learning objections? Have you met resistance from your clients when you tried to do it differently?
Photo credit: I Learn By Going Where I Have To Go by Joe Shlabotnik