Understanding Educational Objectives

SparkPlug Agility's Understanding Educational Objectives (EO) course is a self-paced online learning experience that examines the often misunderstood concepts of Objectives. This course covers a wide range of topics including modern revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (Anderson and Krathwohl). It also shares concepts and techniques of how to write objectives, drawing on the research from the Comprehensive Framework for Instructional Objectives (Hannah & Michaelis). These sources along with other interviews, research, and practical experience in the classroom and several accreditation processes are combined in this highly interactive learning experience.

EO is an on-demand online offering as a part of SparkPlug Agility's "Train of Thought' series, made up of content that is focused on developing stronger coaches, consultants, trainers, and administrators.  

This course is a prerequisite for our "Trainer Immersion Program", a live-online experience that has been created to help aspiring, practicing, and advancing instructors to improve their abilities to design and deliver more meaningful and impactful learning experiences for their students. EO IS INCLUDED with your TRIP registration (a $500 dollar value!).  

In addition, if you'd like to check out what our EO experience is like, the first few modules are available for free!   If you have any questions about this or our other programs, please reach out to us at info@sparkplugagility.com and we would be happy to answer them.

Who Should Take This Course?

Through interviews, discussion, and research we have talked to a range of professionals that would benefit from this learning experience. This includes:

  • Educators working in professional organizations, grade school, or higher education that are looking for clarity, support, and tools regarding the integration of objectives in their instructional designs and teacher evaluation processes.
  • Administrators supporting learning institutions, certification authorities, and governing bodies looking to increase their knowledge of objectives to support their staff of instructors and more importantly, their students.
  • Volunteers who work with administrators and educators alike in the evaluation and accreditation of instructional design choices, often a part of the approval processes for training licenses and certifications.
  •  Professional trainers working within organizations or for themselves who design learning experiences for their co-workers and/or paying clients, including topics such as product training, back-office support, and organizational transformation and leadership.
  •  Coaches who design workshops for their clients and organizations to experience concepts, situations, and explore areas of personal and professional development.
  •  Consultants who create activities and presentations to share their findings and introduce concepts to the organizations who seek out their advice, opinions, and guidance.

What to Expect in the EO Course

While there is a broad spectrum of online, virtual, and on-demand courses available in the marketplace, we have found that some approaches are more beneficial to learners, depending on the combination of subject matter and delivery mechanism. With this in mind, we have built this course using a mixture of video content and online activities that you can take at your own pace, with the ability to revisit any portion of the course that you have completed.

The course content consists of short videos that introduce topics and are immediately followed by an interactive activity, game, or puzzle. These short cycles of content + activity are what we have found to be most impactful to our learners. This course contains over 6 hours of short videos and over 80 activities! We wanted to make these concepts not only more memorable, but something learners could revisit as well as be transferrable to their efforts in the classroom.

Course Outline

Course Overview (Included in FREE PREVIEW)
Learners start their journey getting to know their instructor and the catalysts that inspired this learning experience.  In addition to the research, source material, books, interviews, and practical experience that we will cover, they will get a high-level overview of the modules they are about to embark upon.

Defining Objectives (Included FREE PREVIEW)
This module is dedicated to the concepts of Objectives, a commonly misunderstood topic across several industries. It starts off defining what objectives are as well as stating what they are NOT before introducing the educational frameworks that will be explored at a deeper level later in the course. Learners will explore different levels of objectives from broad statements to specific actions, explore common misconceptions and problems around objectives, and how these concepts and frameworks can benefit them and their work.

Four Organizing Questions
The choices that instructors make regarding their instructional designs are crucial to creating a learning experience that benefits their students. This module focuses on an approach consisting of four organizing questions that is the backbone of a strong learning experience. Learners will explore these questions, which address the topics that they are trying to share, how they will share that knowledge with their students, how they can make sure that their teaching is effective, and if all of those choices "fit" together in a coherent manner.

Writing Objectives
Administrators as well as Educators are often in a position to write or refine objectives, which are the outcomes that students should achieve through the course of instructions. Having the ability to author complete statements of objectives increases the probability of interpreting them correctly and designing lessons to make them impactful. Learners will learn to apply a six-step process to write an objective correctly as well as seeing some common pitfalls and anti patterns that organizations often fall into when authoring objectives.

The Comprehensive Framework for Instructional Objectives
In the late 1970's this educational framework around the systematic planning was published and offered some refreshing perspectives on objectives. While the introduction of the concepts from the 1950's provided a basis for discussion, focusing more on the teachers in the classroom as well as on student behaviors made objectives more relevant in the classroom. This module introduces learners to the four major types of learning and the different behaviors that each one is comprised of, sharing key abilities and sample objectives that can provide some guidance and direction as we introduce this educational framework.

Bloom's Revised Taxonomy: An Overview
Following a golden age of investment in the 60's and 70's in how humans learn, members of the original team and those mentored by the creators of the original "Handbook" came together for some major changes that culminated in 2001 with Bloom's Revised Taxonomy for Educational Objectives. The original cumulative hierarchy was split into to different dimensions of types of Knowledge and categories of Cognitive Processes. This taxonomy is now used to analyze the choices that instructors make. This module introduces learners to the history of the framework, some of the major changes, and introduces the concepts of classifying objectives that we expand on later in this course.

Bloom's Revised Taxonomy: The Knowledge Dimension
This module takes a deeper look at one of the two dimensions of Bloom's Revised Taxonomy. It became apparent that how we categories different types of knowledge has a big impact on our interpretation and subsequent design and execution of objectives. Learners will explore the four major types of knowledge along with the related subtypes. These valuable definitions, concepts, and samples help to provide a starting point for those wishing to examine and classify objectives.

Bloom's Revised Taxonomy: The Cognitive Process Dimension: Part 1
There have been significant advances in recent years around how humans learn from a brain-science perspective. The cognitive functions that we tap into on a regular basis plays a huge part in how we experience the world, and these processes are also present in the classroom. This first of two sections takes a deep dive into the first three categories of cognitive processes. Learners are introduced to the subtle but significant differences between this first set of cognitive processes while also learn about alternative terms, sample objectives, and assessment formats they can use in their instructional design.

Bloom's Revised Taxonomy: The Cognitive Process Dimension: Part 2
Learners continue their journey exploring the final three categories of cognitive processes to round out their understanding of this dimension of Bloom's Revised Taxonomy.  Continuing in the pattern of the previous module, the different cognitive processes are compared to one another to highlight differences and similarities along with alternative terms, sample objectives, and even more example assessment tasks.

Classifying Objectives
While it can be beneficial to understand the inner workings of Bloom's Revised Taxonomy, putting it into practice is what was always intended by the creators.  This module teaches learners a multi-step approach to classify their objectives, activities, and assessments using the taxonomy table.  Experiencing this approach in a hands-on manner establishes a foundation that can be built upon not only in later portions of this learning experience but in a learners' own context.

 Analyzing Objectives
The previous module helped to lay the foundation of how to use Bloom's Revised Taxonomy to classify the different elements of one's instructional designs.  We expand on these concepts by using those tools and concepts to analyze the choices that go into instructional designs.  Learners revisit the concepts of the four organizing questions and combine them with a multi-step classification approach to illustrate their choices.  This module makes use of a case-study where we analyze a teacher's choices of objectives, instructional activities, and assessment tasks.  The focus in on how to use the tools from this course to identify areas of opportunity to identify areas to improve upon design choices in a very hands-on approach.

Practical Application
We bring this learning experience to a close focusing in on aspects of applying the tools, techniques, and concepts to your own context. Regardless if you are an administrator, educator, or both, these valuable topics are things that must be considered. Learners explore a range of helpful tips, tricks, and helpful hints on how to apply Bloom's Revised Taxonomy to their own work. They also explore some considerations in communicating and interacting with their administrators. We close this module with practical tips and advice for educators who are considering applying for training licenses and certifications with specific guidance to help them through their pursuit of these valuable accreditations.