Objectives as Catalysts

Classically-structured instructional objectives are invaluable for instructional designers, but dull for learners, a point Michael Allen makes in Designing Successful e-Learning: Forget What You Know About Instructional Design and Do Something Interesting.

He suggests that instructional objectives should “incite curiosity, energize the senses, and build excitement (p. 118).” Agreed!

One pedantic point of interest: Allen asserts that research shows that even traditional presentation of learning objectives have positive instructional outcomes (from his perspective, it’s good to have them, but so much better to do something interesting with them) but my memory on this point is that the preponderance of evidence is that simple presentation of learning objectives shows no correlation with achievement. I need to take a look and see if there is a consensus in the research.

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3 thoughts on “Objectives as Catalysts

  1. Rob Foshay

    Mike Molenda, emeritus at Indiana University, is doing a review article on efficacy of various design practices, including use of objectives. He did find some empirical evidence of efficacy, reported in the 1970’s, if I recall correctly. I can introduce you two if you wish.

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Do Instructional Objectives Harm Learning? | Engaged

  3. robertmulcahy Post author

    Hi, Rob. See my update this week. In part this is an interesting issue to me because I see a lot of SMEs treat learning objectives as something they have to have because the rules say so, and not as a way to intrigue and draw in learners. I feel the loss of this opportunity particularly keenly as this always happens at the beginning of the course when learners are still forming a first impression.

    Reply

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