## AEE 528 Instructional Design and Course Development in Agricultural Education

Class 5
Specifying the Instructional Objectives

Designing Effective Instruction by Morrison, Ross, & Kemp,
chapter 5

Introduction

In our analysis thus far, we have identified the need or goal for our instruction, the information needed to achieve the goal, and a description of our learners. But, we have not specified what we expect our learners to do by the end of the instruction. In this lesson our focus is on specifying learning outcomes, that is, what we expect the learner to do or demonstrate at the end of the instruction or unit. We will discuss two different types of objectives, and we will take our first step towards the design of the instruction by classifying the objectives into a matrix to select our strategies. These objectives are for you the designer and teacher. Their purpose is to guide you in designing the instruction so that the instruction you produce leads to the achievement of the objectives. Objectives, however, are never carved in stone. You can modify them as needed as you work through the design process.

If you reflect back on the courses you have taken, you could probably identify many objectives. Some of objectives were simply to remember a date, place, or name in history. Others required you to apply mathematical formula such as calculating the area of a triangle. Then, there were those test items that threw a curve your way. For example, you might have studied how to calculate the area of a square, a triangle, rectangle, and circle, which are straightforward tasks if you paid attention in class. On the test, though, the instructor asks you to calculate the area of the following figure!

This last task is quite different from one of requiring you to remember the date the U.S. Constitution was signed. It requires a higher-level problem solving skill. You have all the necessary information, you just need to determine how to combine and apply it in a novel situation.

In this first reading, you will learn about the three domains of objectives and the different levels within each domain. As you read this section, consider the following questions.

1. In which domain or domains would you classify the benchmarks, standards, or content that you will teach?
2. Will your instruction ever focus on only one domain, or will it encompass two or all three?
3. Should your instruction always focus on the higher levels of a domain?

Read pages 106 to 112.

Exercise 1

Using Table 5-1 through 5-4, can you identify examples of content in a course or courses that you might teach that would fit in each of the three domains?

1. Examples of content in the Cognitive Domain
2. Examples of content in the Psychomotor Domain
3. Examples of content in the Affective Domain

Are there some examples that are hard to classify in one domain? What can you do to help you accurately classify the information?

You can find our examples posted here.

There are two methods for writing objectives in the cognitive domain. The behavioral objective approach was popularized by Robert Mager and is used extensively by instructional designers and teachers. These objectives are very precise and accurately describe the behaviors we expect the learner to demonstrate.

Behavioral objectives require the student to demonstrate something we can observe. For example, we can directly observe a student cutting a piece of wood in half. We cannot directly observe a student solving a quadratic equation. However, we can observe the results of the student's effort by evaluating the answer to the equation.

To write a behavioral objective, then, we must be able to either directly or indirectly observe the results. As you read this next section, consider the following questions.

1. What are the purposes of the three components of a behavioral objective from the instructional designer or teacher's perspective?
2. What are some observable verbs that would be applicable to objectives you might write?
Read pages 112 to 117.
Exercise 2

Below are several statements of performance objectives. Indicate which objectives meet the following conditions (each could have more than one answer).

1. Acceptable as written
2. Performance is unclear
3. Conditions are omitted
4. The criteria are omitted
_____ 1. The student will define circumference.

_____ 2. The student will take four pictures of different monkeys at the zoo.

_____ 3. Using a spreadsheet and the kilowatts used each month last year, the student will create a calculation that accurately determines the annual average of kilowatts used.

_____ 4. Given a diagram of a file, the student will plan a cotton seedling check.

_____ 5. The student will organize 10 folders in one-half hour.

_____ 6. Plot the growth of soybeans in three plots treated with three different fertilizers.

Part 2

Change the verb in the following statements to an observable behavior

1. The student will understand. . .

2. The student will recognize. . .

3. The student will comprehend. . .

You can find our answers posted here.

Sometimes, it is not always possible to specify an objective in a behavioral format. For example, complex processes and interpersonal communications are not easy to specify in a single objective. Cognitive objectives provide the instructional designer and teacher with a way to define these more complex tasks. In addition, cognitive objectives focus more on the process rather than the product.

Both cognitive and behavioral objectives state learning outcomes as results. The technique used to define the outcomes differs. As you read this next section, consider the following questions.

1. What are the differences between behavioral and cognitive objectives?
2. What topics do you teach where cognitive objectives would be more appropriate?
3. What is the difference between product and process as defined by objectives?

Read pages 118 to 121.

Exercise 3

Develop a cognitive objective for each of the following statements.

1. Locate information on the Internet.

2. Develop a budget for 6 months.

3. Deliver a persuasive speech.

Our answers are here.

Exercise 4

Select a course from the list at http://www.ncpublicschools.org/workforce_development/vocats/blueprints/

Next, select three benchmarks or standards from a course and create a cognitive objective for each benchmark/standard. Check that each objective has a statement of general intent and 3-5 examples of performance.

Post your objectives on the discussion board for this exercise. Then, review the objectives from two other students and post your review. Have they communicated the intent and indicators (i.e., samples) of performance?

The performance for objectives in the psychomotor domain is the easiest to observe. In contrast, objectives in the affective domain are more difficult to define due to the abstract nature of attitudes and feelings. Behavioral objectives are almost always used for the psychomotor domain since it is relatively easy to specify the desired student performance, criteria, and conditions. Affective objectives are more difficult to define and designers use a combination of behavioral and cognitive objectives. As you read this next section, consider the following questions.

1. Does the statement of the criteria in a psychomotor objective vary from that of cognitive or affective objectives?
2. How do you determine if time is a criterion or condition?
3. How does the specification affective objectives differ from cognitive and psychomotor domain objectives?

Read pages 121 to 122.

Exercise 5

Select two psychomotor and two affective benchmarks from the courses listed at http://www.ncpublicschools.org/workforce_development/vocats/blueprints/

Write an objective for each. For the behavioral objectives, identify the performance, criteria, and conditions of each. For those written in a cognitive style, check the indicators of the performance to maker sure they match the general objective.

We have completed the steps for the initial analysis of an instructional project. The goal analysis and/or needs assessment identified the direction of the project. An analysis of the learners and environment identified constraints and concerns that we need to address. The task analysis identified the information and skills the learner needs to perform as expected. Last, we defined the objectives for the instructional project. We have not, however, addressed the issue of how to teach the content.

The objectives are the first piece of information we need to start making decisions about how to teach. They contain information about the behavior the learner must demonstrate and information about the type of content associated with the performance. In this next reading, we will discuss how we can classify the performance and content of each objective to make decisions. Consider the following questions as you read this next section.

1. Why are the taxonomies useful for making decisions on how to teach the content?
2. How does the Mager and Beach classification scheme differ from the expanded-content matrix?

Read pages 122 to 131.

Exercise 6

Draw the following table on a piece of paper. Now indicate the performance category for each of the following objectives.

 Objective/Category Recall Application Arrange List Explain Use Compare Label Define Calculate Compose Describe Select Name Draw Estimate

Exercise 6

Classify each of the following objectives by performance (Recall/Application) and by content (Fact/Concept/Principle-Rule/Procedure/Interpersonal/Attitude)

 Objective Performance Content 1. Given a diagram of the digestive system, the learner will accurately trace the flow of food through the system. 2. Given a graph of the daily mean temperature for the year, the learner will determine when to start treating for fleas. 3. Given an automobile, the learner will change the oil. 4. Given an herbicide and field conditions, the learner will calculate the rate of application. 5. Given five black-and-white photographs of insects, the learner will correctly identify those in the larval stage. 6. The learner will demonstrate appropriate safety precautions when changing a tire.
Final Project

This week you should define all your objectives and classify them according to the expanded-performance content matrix. The objectives are derived from your task analysis. Your objectives also support behaviors that will correct the problem identified in your problem identification.

Summary

Defining what you expect of the learner is a critical step in the design process. The objectives help us communicate our intent to others. They provide a basis for arriving at a consensus on the focus and content of a course or unit of instruction. Trying to achieve such a consensus with a task analysis can take too much time and result in content decided by a committee. Objectives also provide the basis for selecting the instructional strategies. Each cell of the expanded-content performance matrix has a strategy for teaching the content. There are strategies for teaching the memorization of facts, and there are different strategies for teaching interpersonal relations.