FAQs What is a Learning Objective?

We have talked a lot about learning objects and media objects.  Frequently they are misunderstood to be learning objectives.  Here are some thoughts about learning objectives in order to differentiate them from DLOs.

A learning objective is an outcome statement describing what knowledge and skills the learners should be able to demonstrate following the instruction.  It closes  the gap between what “is” and what “should be.”  It varies according need and varies between what is critical and what is nice to have.

The learning objective addresses the discrepancy between what is and

(a) an ideal,

(b) the norm,

(c) a minimum,

(d) a desired, or

(e) an expected state

Depending on the content, the need could be critical for one individual  in one case or just nice to have for another individual who has a different function.  Needs will vary across individuals and groups according to the present state and the future requirements


  1. Focus attention
  2. Indicate what the instructor wants to accomplish
  3. Can be measured
  4. Are based on an organized framework of cognitive, psychomotor, affective or meta-cognitive knowledge

In education, objectives indicate what the teacher wants students to learn and describe how the students are expected to change by the educative process.  They are written in a way that, to some extent, the amount of change that takes place can be measured.


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