The website is also available in

How to write learning objectives effectively

Which new actions will your learners be able to take once they’ve finished your course?

It sounds like a fairly straightforward question, but not knowing the answer can make it hard for course creators to come up with new learning material.

Kasper Spiro
learning objectives

The best way to formulate a response is by setting a single SMART goal for your course. You can then break that goal down into several learning objectives.

Goals vs. learning objectives

When it comes to best practices for course creation, coming up with a good set of objectives is our number one choice.

But goals and objectives are two very different things.

A goal sets out what learners will be able to do once they’ve finished your course. But to reach that goal, they first need to complete a number of specific and measurable learning objectives.

Let’s use an example here. Imagine you want to take part in a 10k run in the next few months. To get ready, you’ll take up a variety of activities – for example, going for a daily run, watching your diet, and buying the right gear.

Your goal might be to finish the 10k run in under one hour. But the specific and measurable learning objectives you’ll want to achieve to reach that goal would include:

  • Building up your weekly mileage. You’ll probably want to get to know your limits by starting small and finding out if you need any additional support.
  • Learning which foods to eat so that you can build your core muscle strength.

Your two learning objectives in this example – to build your mileage and adapt your nutrition – both flow from your goal to finish a 10k run in under one hour.

Create quality e-learning faster

Want to create high-quality training in a fraction of the time? Watch our free webinar for 6 time-saving tricks to create e-elearning.

Using Easygenerator’s Learning Objective Maker

We always encourage creators to be as structured as possible when coming up with e-learning objectives. That’s why we built a free and easy-to-use Learning Objective Maker to help you with this.

It’s based on the so-called taxonomy of learning, which was developed by the influential education researcher Benjamin Bloom.

It also follows Cathy Moore’s Action Mapping technique, which says that learning objectives always need to describe actions rather than knowledge. In other words, learning objectives always need to be actionable.

Let’s take a look again at our previous running example to understand the different types of learning objectives.

Knowledge-driven learning objectives would look something like this:

  • Remember your basic preparations, like building up your weekly mileage, starting small so you can field out your limits, figuring out where you need help, and asking for help without interrupting other runners.
  • Understand what to eat to build your core muscle strength for running.

Action-driven learning objectives, on the other hand, look like this:

  • Schedule running time in your daily routine and build up mileage using mileage charts.
  • Perform a fitness test and compare your results with the required fitness levels.
  • Choose which foods to eat to prep your body for the marathon.

By combining Bloom’s framework with actionable goals, Easygenerator’s Learning Objective Maker helps you come up with meaningful e-learning objectives.

If you’d like to find out more, please read the next article in our e-learning best practices blog series.

Ready to start creating courses?

Start my free trial Book a demo

About the author

Kasper Spiro is the Co-founder and Chief learning strategist of Easygenerator and a recognized thought leader in the world of e-learning. With over 30 years of experience, he is a frequently asked keynote speaker and well-renowned blogger within the e-learning community.