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Using Learning Objectives For Course Design And Curriculum Improvement

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Tricks of the Trade for Teaching I

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1414.1 - 10.1414.8



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Paper Authors

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Donald Carpenter

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Learning Objectives are statements of specific observable actions a student should be able to perform after an established period of time (a lecture, course, or curriculum). Learning Objectives, which are also commonly referred to as Instructional, Teaching, or Educational Objectives, clarify the expectations of faculty in terms of measurable or observable student performance. In other words, these statements describe the ability of students to demonstrate they have indeed learned what was expected of them. As such, learning objectives are a powerful tool for course design and curriculum improvement. Learning objectives can be used for course design by identifying critical material, facilitating course activities, writing examinations, and maximizing student learning. Learning objectives can be used for curriculum improvement by communicating course expectations to faculty and students, organizing key points of learning throughout the curriculum, eliminating excessive duplication of material, and providing assessment of course performance. However, if objectives are not sufficiently well defined, both testing and assessment based on those objectives are unlikely to be effective in determining if students have mastered the required topic. This paper and associated presentation will describe learning objectives in detail and provide assistance on how to effectively write and implement objectives. The goal is to assist new engineering educators in designing their courses, communicating information to their students and fellow faculty, and focusing their instruction on student learning as opposed to teaching.

Carpenter, D. (2005, June), Using Learning Objectives For Course Design And Curriculum Improvement Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15458

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