What’s the Goal?

On January 17, 2011, in Being a GA/TA, Think About It, UWindsor, by Candace Nast

How can you be prepared when you walk into the classroom? What can you do ahead of time so that the class runs smoothly? Besides making yourself familiar with the content, preparing open-ended discussion questions or a learning activity to get everyone engaging with the material?

One of the most important things you can prepare — the thing that will help everything else fall into place — is knowing the goal of the class. The course itself will have learning outcomes somewhere prominent on the syllabus, but has the instructor included clear learning outcomes for each lesson? Quite likely the answer is no. There may be a posted topic, but that’s not the same thing.

Ask yourself what new knowledge, skill, or understanding students should walk away with at the end of the hour (or whatever time you have with them). What specifically do they need to get from today’s lesson? Once you’ve figured this out (in clear, concise language) you can share the expected learning outcome with your class. They’ll know what they’re supposed to be learning — and so will you. You’ll know how your lesson should end and once you have an ending, you only need to build a path to that conclusion.

Having a clear objective can help you focus your information or weed out tangential information. Any participatory activity will have a point — because you planned it with a goal.

Learning outcomes should be measurable and there are tools out there to help you with this. Bloom’s Taxonomy is one (and you can see it below. Click to see large). Sometimes it’s pictured as a rose, as shown here and sometimes it’s shown as a pyramid. Depending on what type of learning you’re trying to encourage, there are suggested verbs for writing your learning outcomes. Have a look – and then go write some learning outcomes! (Would love to see some in the comments!)

Bloom's Rose: Taxonomy of Learning Objectives

Bloom's Rose. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons. Click to see large.


One Response to What’s the Goal?

  1. […] Bloom’s Taxonomy? It’s that handy tool that helps you create measurable learning outcomes. What if there was an […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *