Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this rotation, what will students know (e.g. facts), understand (e.g. concepts, processes), and/or be able to do (i.e. skills)?

All of your activities should directly support students in achieving these objectives, so it will be helpful for you to think through what successful achievement of each objective will look like, and then work backwards from there to ensure your activities will enable student success. Ultimately, you’ll be assessing how well the students have achieved these objectives and their ability to answer the Guiding Question(s).

How to write good learning objectives:

  • Start with the standards: What are the students expected to know and do with regard to this topic? It won’t always be possible to fully address a learning standard in 5 days, but this is a good place to start to get a sense of the scope and level of what students are expected to achieve. For more on the standards, go here.


  • Make them specific: The more precisely you can pinpoint your destination, the easier it will be to find the best route to get there, and the easier it will be to know when you’ve arrived!
  • Make them measurable: Think about how you would grade a student on their achievement of the objective.
  • Make them reflect the depth of learning you want students to achieve: The deeper the better, but a complex topic may mean less deep learning, and that’s OK.

--> NOTE: There are lots of different resources out there that align depth of learning levels with action verbs and styles of instruction. These can be helpful for assessing the depth of your objectives and activities, and for generating new ideas and approaches. Searching the Internet for “depth of knowledge wheel” or Bloom’s taxonomy” will return useful results; this site also has three helpful graphics: http://regiscpslearningdesign.weebly.com/blooms-taxonomy.html.

  • Make them reasonable to achieve within 5 days: Think about the knowledge and skill-building necessary for students to achieve the objective.

--> NOTE that a reasonable 5-day objective does not have to be less deep than one that would take more time to achieve; simply less broad.

  • Make sure they will help the students to answer the guiding question.


  • If you are structuring your week around an authentic connection, you can call that out in your objectives (e.g. “Students will be able to describe the role that a curator plays in a museum,” or “Students will be able to explain the job of a film director.”)


  • Distinguish between big-picture objectives, and supporting objectives. You should shoot for three big-picture learning objectives for the week listed on page one. If you find yourself with a laundry list of objectives, consider which of them are big-picture objectives that will allow the students to answer the guiding question (and that you’ll be evaluating students on in the end-of-week assessment), and which are smaller ones that are needed to achieve the bigger ones. The smaller ones can be listed in the daily overview, in the section titled, “By the end of this day, students will be able to:”


Example of weeding out supporting objectives from big-picture objectives, from a sample photography and media curriculum:

An argument could be made that objective #4 in the above list is really the only big-picture objective listed; it is the overall, end-of-the-week outcome. All of the other objectives are important, but they are supporting objectives because they are necessary in order for the students to successfully achieve #4. The supporting objectives should be listed not on page one, but rather as the learning goals on the individual day(s) when they are taught.