Writing Effective Learning Objectives

Effective Learning Objectives for Clinical Teaching

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.  General objectives are used at the course and program level; specific objectives are appropriate at the session level.

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 (“following this course, the student will be able to . . .”).  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 general 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 and competencies must be reflected in the course or 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)

Learning Modules

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