Educational objectives are specific statements that detail what a participant can expect to learn from an educational activity. For most CME activities, these statements describe knowledge, skill, and attitude changes that should occur upon successful completion of activity.
How many objectives do I need?
The number of objectives for the program should be sufficient to accomplish the intended purpose of the activity. Aim for 2-3 objectives per hour of content. If you have only 1 objective or more than 3 per hour, review your objectives and content. Are you trying to do too much? Are you trying to do too little?
Focus on the Audience
Objectives should fit the content and the audience. For example, a review lecture on the basic anatomy of a heart may not be appropriate for cardiac surgeons. Focus on more in- depth information or only pertinent information regarding the anatomy that is required to move forward.
What makes an objective?
A good objective is specific, measurable, and answers the following: WHO is going to do WHAT by WHEN? The WHAT portion should begin with a measurable verb. This means it must be able to be completed and be verified. (See the chart below for strong, measurable verbs.)
At the conclusion of this activity (WHEN), the participant (WHO) will be able to list 3 of 10 common diagnosis of children at Cincinnati Children’s (WHAT). To be even more specific, add HOW.
At the conclusion of this activity (WHEN), the participant (WHO) will be able to list 3 of 10 common diagnosis of children at Cincinnati Children’s (WHAT) from memory (HOW).
At the conclusion of this activity (WHEN), the participant (WHO) will be able to program an Alaris pump (WHAT) through the assistance of the user guide provided (HOW)
Decide what you want your learner to accomplish and which category it falls under – Knowledge, Skill, or Attitude, and look at the appropriate chart. Click for Knowledge, Skill or Attitude verbs.
Knowledge Verb Chart
Knowledge is the most widely used category. As the chart moves left to right, the level of knowledge needed to perform a task increases.
|Make judgments on basis of given criteria
|Examine information to identify motives or causes, make inferences, determine relationships or draw conclusions
|Apply prior knowledge and skills to produce something new
|Use previously learned information in new situations
|Discover the meaning of information
|Retrieve learned information
Common problems with objectives
- Problem: Beginning with a poor verb (i.e. understand, learn) that is too generic and hard to
- Solution: Think about what participants should be able to do with the Should they be able to recite? Utilize? Discriminate? Reconstruct? Use the verb charts to choose a more accurate verb.
- Problem: Objective is from the wrong point of view – the
- Solution: Remember, the objective is for the learner to know what they can expect to Begin your objectives with the phrase “At the conclusion of this activity, the participant will be able to” to help you keep the learner in mind.
Verbs or phrases to avoid
|Be aware of…
|Be conscious of…
Skill verbs describe the ability of a participant to perform at task or follow a procedure.
Attitude objectives describe the feelings, values, and attitudes of they learner. These objectives are the most difficult to measure. It is difficult to measure internal thoughts and feelings of participants. Please consider if this is the most appropriate verb for your objectives and presentation before using an attitude verb. Also, please make any attitude objectives as measurable as possible.