Comparing Learning Goals & Learning Objectives

Comparing Learning Goals & Learning Objectives
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  • 0:03 Planning for Instruction
  • 0:54 Goals and Objectives
  • 1:26 Learning Goals & Objectives
  • 2:51 Developing Learning Objectives
  • 3:17 SMART & ABCD Objectives
  • 4:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde
Learning goals and learning objectives are often confused. Though similar, each is distinct with its own place in education. This lesson compares the two and discusses how to define them to help students succeed in the classroom.

Planning for Instruction

Brad is a teacher who tries to help his students learn by planning lessons and activities based on learning goals and objectives. This planning stage is important. It is necessary to identify exactly what is expected of students. This makes learning meaningful and measurable, two vital aspects of learning.

Why is this? By identifying measurable goals and objectives, parents and students will know what is expected. When learning is meaningful, Brad's students retain more information and are more successful. Brad is better able to stay on track because he is teaching with an end goal or objective in mind.

Brad has a meeting today with his administrator to talk about his planning. Turns out, Brad is confusing learning goals and learning objectives. He thought they were the same thing. Let's explore with Brad the important difference between these two.

Goals and Objectives

Depending on the context, the words 'goals' and 'objectives' can often be used interchangeably. Like we see with Brad, they're often confused. In fact, we see many terms that mean similar things when talking about identifying student outcomes in education, like:

  • Performance outcome
  • Instructional objective
  • Learning point
  • Competency goal
  • Teaching purpose

Sound confusing? It certainly can be. The real difference in these words is found in the level of application. Brad learns that objectives are concrete and goals are broad.

Learning Goals & Objectives

Brad is still a little confused, so his administrator zooms in to define learning goals. They are overall general targets for learning. Learning goals are overarching and require effort. They can be long or short term, and include differing skill levels such as learn, solve, or analyze.

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