Writing Effective Learning Objectives


Effective Learning Objectives for Basic Sciences

A learning objective is a statement of what a learner will be expected to be able to do following the learning experience.  Objectives may be either general or specific.

Objectives may also be teaching-centered (during this course, the instructor will . . .) or learning-centered (following this course, the student will be able to . . .).  All TUSOM objectives should be written in learning-centered language that describes the desired outcomes of the learning experience in terms of student knowledge, skills, attitudes or behaviors. Use action verbs. See Bloom's Taxonomy of Verbs and Improving Your Pedagogy.

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM OBJECTIVES are the general institutional learning objectives that specify the broad learning outcomes expected of a graduating student.  These outcomes are described in terms of the knowledge, attitudes, behaviors and skills that are expected of a competent physician.

TUSOM’s Educational Program Objectives span the entire 4-year curriculum, and are aligned with the ACGME competencies.  In order to meet LCME accreditation standards, the educational program objectives must be reflected in the specific course/clerkship objectives.

For example:
ACGME Competency - Patient Care that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective, and applied in the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health.

Example of General Educational Program Objectives re: Competent Patient Care

Students will be able to:

  1. recognize and manage common medical problems (knowledge)
  2. complete a comprehensive patient history and physical examination (skill)
  3. provide patient care with sensitivity to diversity (attitude)

Example of Clerkship-Specific Objectives re: Competent Patient Care

Students will be able to:

  1. identify the key components of an annual well-woman exam (knowledge)
  2. complete a pap smear and clinical breast exam(skill)
  3. demonstrate sensitive and compassionate gynecological care (attitude/behavior)

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