Writing Learning Objectives

Learning objectives are provided at the beginning of each activity to allow learners to evaluate the relevance of the activity to their practice. Learning objectives should:

  • Derive from identified gaps in physician knowledge, competence, and performance or patient outcomes.
  • Clearly and concisely communicate what learners are expected to know and/or do after participating in a CME activity.
  • Frame the content to be presented; it is critical that each objective be specifically addressed in the content.

If a post-test or other assessment is associated with the CME activity, the test should include questions that address or relate to each learning objective.

The essential components of learning objectives are who (the learner), how (an action verb), and what (the result).

WHO HOW WHAT
Learners will be able to name the most sensitive and specific diagnostic testing available for . . .
Participants will be able to recognize the physical signs and symptoms of . . .
The physician will be able to explain the risks and benefits of . . .
The healthcare provider will be able to perform

The Endocrine society strives for high level learning objectives to be focused on performance outcomes such as application and evaluation of knowledge rather than simply increasing knowledge and comprehension.Examples of action verbs useful for crafting such outcomes are listed below.

LEVEL (in ascending order) ACTION VERBS TO USE IN LEARNING OBJECTIVES
Knowledge define, list, state, identify, label, name
Comprehension

discuss, explain, predict, interpret, infer, summarize, convert, translate, recognize, suspect, provide, account for, review, inform, counsel

Application translate, interpret, apply, employ, use, practice, decide, illustrate, demonstrate, prepare, modify, obtain, perform, increase, decrease
Analysis distinguish, differentiate, analyze, criticize, debate, question, relate, solve, examine
Synthesis design, develop, devise, formulate, plan, diagnose, propose, change, create, construct, change, arrange, assemble, organize, compose, establish, incorporate, prioritize
Evaluation appraise, estimate, evaluate, assess, measure, rate, justify, revise, select, screen