Revision of Objectives and Activities from Mon, 12/17/2007 - 20:51

The Best Choice...according to the experts

Dwyer, 1991 – "If your final objective is to have learners engage in problem-solving,you inspect the instructional unit to make sure that the content contains the appropriate facts, concepts, rules/principles, etc. which are a prerequisite for that intended learners to engage in successful problem-solving."


Relate different levels of learning objectives to learning activities because:

  • Appropriate strategies and activities will increase the probability that the level of learning you expect will occur.
  • Student activities based on learning objectives will make sure you are teaching what you want to and must teach and that students are learning what they should learn.

Basic Information

Questions to think about

  1. What do the students need to do in order to achieve the course goals and objectives? Is it only memorization of concepts? Probably not. Then what activities are necessary to achieve the level of learning you expect?
  2. What do students need to memorize in order to perform higher-level tasks? What is the most basic? Can other information be looked up as needed or does the student need to know the information "on demand"?
  3. What is the ideal way to learn course content if money, time, location were not of concern? What of those ways can be incorporated into this course?
  4. What kind of knowledge/skills do you want to the students to apply in later courses or in their internship or jobs? Problem-solving, analysis, or what?
  5. What learning activities will motivate students; that is, what will convey your passion about the content?
  6. What will the students do in class, out of class and in recitation/small group sessions?
  7. What must the students, teaching assistants, and you do to support students as they learn?
  8. What is the nature of the class and how might that impact the range of student activities?

What are learning activities?

Activities can include writing papers, doing projects, solving problems, discussing issues, etc. Read more at Penn State World Campus Examples of Student Activities.

Tie Different levels of objectives with Activities

When we talk about student activities, you may say: I have all kinds of student activities, such as small-group discussion, case studies, projects, etc. But why should you choose using case studies over small-group discussion? And visa versa. Put another way: when should you use one type of student activity over the other?

After you create the learning objectives, you should not set them aside. Instead, you should keep them in mind alway when you select student activities.

As mentioned in the section on "Why Do We Need Learning Objectives" there are different levels of objectives. You will want to select student activities based on the level of the objectives. Following are some examples of student activities related to different levels of learning.

Table to Match Objective Type with Activity

The different levels of learning below are focused on the cognitive domain. If you are teaching physical skills or want to focus on students' attitude, feeling and values, you will want to use other student activities.

Level of Learning Student activities
Facts Self-check quizzes, trivia games, etc.
Concepts Have students show examples/non-examples, student generated flowchart, etc.
Rules/Principles Design projects and prototypes, simulations, etc.
Problem-solving Case study, small group discussion, critical thinking, teamwork, etc.



Dwyer, F. M.(1991). A paradigm for generating curriculum design oriented research questions in distance education. Second American Symposium Research in Distance Education, University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University.

Heinrich, R., Molenda, M., Russell, J.D., Smaldino, S.E. (1996). Instructional Media and Technologies for Learning. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Merrill.

Huitt, W. (2000). Bloom et al.'s taxonomy of the cognitive domain. Retrieved May 14, 2003, from

Kizlik, B. (2003). How to write effective behavioral objectives. Boca Raton, FL: Adprima.
Retrieved May 14, 2003, from

Lohr, L (no date). Objectives, sequencing, strategies, Retrieved May 14, 2003, from University of Northern Colorado College of Education Web site:

SOGC Org (no date). Writing instructional objectives: The what, why how and when. Retrieved May 14, 2003, from [No Longer Available]

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