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Introduction to Instructional Design Writing Performance Objectives. Dr. Lloyd Rieber The University of Georgia Department of Instructional Technology Athens, Georgia USA. Objectives. Name and describe the components of a properly written performance objective.

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introduction to instructional design writing performance objectives

Introduction to Instructional DesignWriting Performance Objectives

Dr. Lloyd Rieber

The University of Georgia

Department of Instructional Technology

Athens, Georgia USA

  • Name and describe the components of a properly written performance objective.
  • Write a terminal objective that includes relevant information about the instructional context.
  • Write performance objectives for skills that have been identified in an instructional analysis.






Assess Need

to Identify












And Select



Design and





Learners and


Design and




(Dick & Carey’s Model)

instructional congruency
Instructional Congruency





performance objective
Performance Objective

A detailed description of what students will be able to do when they complete a unit of instruction. It will provide an instructional focus for the designer when deciding about content, strategies, and evaluation.

performance objective6
Performance Objective

Performance objectives are derived from the skills in the instructional analysis. This includes sometimes writing objectives for the skills identified as entry behaviors.

performance objective7
Performance Objective
  • Terminal Objective

The objective that describes exactly what the student will be able to do when he or she completes a unit of instruction.

  • Subordinate Objective

The objective that paves the way to the achievement of the terminal objective.

components of an objective
Components Of An Objective

Robert Mager has long advocated constructing an objective with three components:

The components are as follows:

  • Conditions of Demonstration: describes the tools or information that learners will be given when they demonstrate their learning
  • Terminal Behavior: describes the learner actions that demonstrate that learning has occurred. Action verbs such as select, identify, and list included rather than ambiguous terms such as understand, be aware of and appreciate.
  • Standards/Criteria: describes how well the learner must do for you to say the learner has achieved the objective.
components of an objective9
Components Of An Objective

Another method for writing objectives is to include five components as described by Gagne, Briggs and Wager(1989)

components of an objective10
Components Of An Objective
  • Situation: what is the stimulus situation faced by the student? Describe the environmental conditions under which the behavior is performed.
  • Learned capability verb: helps designer to inform others of the type of outcome being refer to. Helps to reduce ambiguity

3. Object: indicates the content of the learner’s performance. Example: the calculation of the sum of two three-digit numbers

4. Action verb: describes how the performance is to be completed.

5. Tools, constraints, special conditions, or criteria: in some situations, the performance will require the use of special tools, certain constraints, or other special conditions.

learned capability verbs



Verbal information





Classify, identify

State, list, recite, summarize



Learned Capability Verbs
components of an objective12
Components Of An Objective


Given an illustration of three plane figures, two the same

and one different, the LWBAT point to the figure that

is different without assistance.

< condition >

< Terminal Behavior >

< criteria>

components of an objective13
Components Of An Objective


Given an illustration of three plane figures, two the same

and one different, the LWBAT discriminate the figure that

is different by pointing to it without assistance.

< situation >

< LCV >

< object >

< criteria>

< action>

what are the differences between objectives and goals
What Are The Differences Between Objectives And Goals?

Goals are typically written from the course’s perspective whereas objectives are written from the learner’s perspective.

A goal is a generic, less precise description of the outcome of instruction.

The objectives reflect some type of criteria or standard whereas the goal does not; descriptions of the outcome of instruction is very precise.

derivation of behaviors
Derivation of Behaviors

: the designer should carefully consider the verbs that may be used to describe behavior.

  • Intellectual Skills

It can be described by such verbs as discriminate, identify, classify, demonstrate, or generate.

derivation of behaviors16
Derivation of Behaviors
  • Psychomotor Skills

Objectives that relate to psychomotor skills usually are easily expressed in terms of executing a physical behavior (e.g.,running, jumping, or driving)

  • Attitudes

When objectives involve attitudes, the learner is usually expected to choose a particular alternative or sets of alternatives.

  • Verbs for Declarative/Verbal Information learning Outcomes

Count, define, list, name, quote, recite, state and write

a list of other types of performance verbs
A List Of Other TypesOf Performance Verbs
  • Verbs for General Discrimination Learning Outcomes

: choose, collect, define, describe, detect, discriminate, distinguish, identify, indicate, isolate, list, match, omit, order, pick, place, point, select, and separate.

  • Verbs for Psychomotor Learning Outcomes

: arch, bend, catch, climb, float, grab, grip, hit, hop, jump, kick, knock, lift, pitch, pull, run, skate, step, stretch, swim, swing, throw, and toss

  • Miscellaneous Verbs

: aim, buy, complete, crush, determine, develop, erase, expand, finish, repeat, suggest, support, vote, and watch.

derivation of conditions
Derivation Of Conditions

: In selecting appropriate conditions you need to consider both the behavior to be demonstrated and the characteristics of the target population. You should also distinguish among the functions that the conditions component serve.

derivation of conditions19
Derivation of Conditions

These functions include specifying:

  • The cue or stimulus that learners will use to search the information stored in memory.
  • The characteristics of any resource material required to perform the task.
  • The scope and complexity of the task.
derivation of conditions20
Derivation of Conditions

The conditions associated with an objective will shape the instruction every bit as much as the behavior in the objective.

How does the designer decide exactly what the conditions should be? Sometimes it is simply a matter of SME judgment. The context analysis describes the situations under which the desired behavior will occur, and that is what we want to describe in the conditions of an objective.

derivation of criteria
Derivation of Criteria

The final part of the objective is the criterion for judging acceptable performance of the skill. In specifying logical criteria, you must consider the nature of the task to be performed.

process for writing objectives
Process For Writing Objectives

The steps in writing objectives are:

  • Edit goal to reflect eventual performance context.
  • Write terminal objective to reflect context of learning environment.
  • Write objectives for each step in goal analysis for which there are no substeps shown.

4. Write objectives that reflect the substeps in one major objective, or write objectives for each sub-step.

  • Write objectives for all subordinate skills.
  • Write objectives for entry behaviors if some students are likely not to possess them.
lloyd s advice on writing objectives
Lloyd’s Advice on Writing Objectives
  • A-B-C, and maybe D, but definitely include the cap-a-bil-a-tee.

SWBAT (audience), Behavior, Condition, …

…add Degree if it makes sense, and if you have the basis for determining this.

Learned Capability

a little more about adding the degree
A Little More About Adding The “Degree”
  • You should have a basis for determining the degree to which learning/performance should be demonstrated?
    • I would not expect students to solve certain problems more than 10-25% of the time. (Remember the first time you baked a cake?)
  • Some educators default to the “80% of the time” rule.
    • Does anyone know where this statistic comes from?
example verbal information
Example: Verbal Information
  • Given a list of 20 chemical symbols, SWBAT list the chemical's name by writing it next to the symbol.
example concrete concept
Example: Concrete Concept
  • Given pictures of 12 geometric figures, SWBAT identify by circling all the polygons.
example defined concept
Example: Defined Concept
  • Given three video scenes showing a teacher using grouping strategies, SWBAT classify by labeling the scene that demonstrates the principles of cooperative learning.
example rule principle
Example: Rule/Principle
  • Given two numbers greater than 100, SWBAT demonstrate by multiplying the two numbers together correctly within 5 minutes.
example problem solving
Example: Problem-Solving
  • SWBAT generate by constructing lesson plans that appropriately use and integrate computer tools to teach about subject matter of their choice.
example attitude
Example: Attitude
  • SWBAT choose to design a personal dietary plan that meets the fundamental requirements of good nutrition based on the "food pyramid."
do these objectives sound like tests
Do these objectives sound like tests?
  • If they do, then give yourself a point for “insight”!
  • Well-written objectives can be considered “first drafts” of assessment instruments.
  • Tuck this thought away for a later discussion about assessment (chapter 7).
  • A well-written objective describes very precisely the expected learning outcome in terms of a behavior or performance that can be clearly and fairly assessed.
  • A well-written objective is the main tool for the subsequent design of instructional strategies (i.e. lesson design) and assessment.
  • There are several “recipes” for writing objectives, but all have the same fundamental components.
    • A-B-C, and maybe D, but definitely include the cap-a-bil-a-tee.