Instructional design/Learning objectives/Examples and Non-Examples of Conditions Phrases

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Helpful Questions when writing ConditionsEdit

The intent of adding conditions to a learning objective is to provide clarification about what the learner must do and how they will accomplish the performance. When deciding how to word the condition phrase answer the following questions:

  1. What tools, resources, and job aids will the learner be allowed to use?
  2. What will the learner not be allowed to use?
  3. Under what conditions will the desired performance occur?

Non-Examples of False ConditionsEdit

One common error when writing learning objectives is to include instructional activities, teaching strategies, or classroom events that precede the performance of the learner. But a learning objective is concentrated on what the "learner" must do and how they will do it. It is not focused on an instructor's performance.

 
A voltage source, V, drives an electric current, I , through resistor, R, the three quantities obeying Ohm's law: V = IR.

For example:

  • After listening to the instructor's presentation, the learner will be able to describe Ohm's Law.....
  • After reading the chapter on electrical currents, the student will be able to explain Ohm's Law.....
  • Given adequate practice, the student will be able to solve Ohm's Law


The conditional phrases "After listening to this presentation.." ,"After reading the chapter on electrical currents...", and "Given adequate practice" do not describe the resources or environment that will be provided to the learner in the performance of the actual behavior. The phrases describe what leads up to the behavior which is the teacher's performance or an instructional activity.

A better example to the previous objectives would be:

  • Given a worksheet with a list of electrical laws, the learner will be able to circle Ohm's Law....
  • Given the voltage and resistance of an electrical circuit, the student will be able to solve for the current (using Ohm's Law)....

Non-Examples of Unclear ConditionsEdit

Another common error in writing learning objectives is a lack of specifics and clear guidance when creating the conditions phrase. Remember, one of the key points in adding conditions is to clarify any misunderstanding concerning the performance.

For example:

  • Given a book, the student will be able to diagnose a problem in a Volkswagen air conditioning system.
  • Given a dictionary, the student will conjugate 10 verbs in French.


A better example provides more description about the condition.

  • Given the Volkswagen-issued technical manual, the student will be able to diagnose a problem in a Volkswagen air conditioning system.....
  • Given an English-French dictionary, the student will conjugate 10 verbs in French.....

Practice and FeedbackEdit

With reference to the helpful questions section, choose the best answer for the following two questions?

1 Which of these conditions is a false condition?

...With reference to the Volkswagen technical manual,
...After the student solves ten problems using Ohm's Law,
...Given a United States Map with the capitals and states,

2 Which of these is the best example of a condition phrase?

...Given a book,
...After the instructor's lecture on protons and neutrons,
...Given the periodic table of elements,


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ReferencesEdit

Mager, Robert F. (1997) Preparing Instructional Objectives, Atlanta, GA: The Center for Effective Performance.

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