Ideas on getting rid of bullet points to state course objectives

I wanted to start a thread to collect some ideas on how to make the objectives more emotional and interesting than the standard bullet point list of objectives.

I've built courses in the past where we start with simple scenarios that connect the learner to the content and expose the learning objectives.  I had some people ask for some additional ideas so I'll throw it out to the elearning community.

If you wanted to get rid of the bullet point objective list, what are some other creative ways to state the objectives?  if you have some examples, feel free to post them.

61 Replies
Cary Glenn

Tracey, I agree with you. Learning objectives are for instructional designers. In my mind it seems rather presumptuous to tell people what they will be able to do after I'm done pouring information into their head. They may or may not be able to meet the instructional objectives. It depends on how well I do my job and how much work the learner does. They may also learn things of which I had no idea.

Joshua Roberts

I tend to incorporate them around the story or scenario I'm building for the course. Recently I have implemented objectives through the use of a team meeting which fit perfectly in with the scenario I was creating. Therefore I never really like to take time out at the start to really introduce objectives in a bulleted fashion.


Another thing if you have to use objectives is to have them appear in a non-traditional way. Another course I worked on involved your manager sending you a copy of your objectives for the day in an email which appeared as a notification on your virtual tablet.

Michael Fimian

Thought I'd add my 2 cents here...

When I sit down and go through a module, I want to know up front -- briefly --  what we're covering and what I'm going to learn.

A simple statement like "Over the next hour we're going to learn to A, B and C..."  would suffice. Don't want a shopping list bulleted by LO#

Barb Geisler

This is a tough one. You want to orient the learner to the big picture of the content so they can track along with you, but definitely agree the A,B,C learning objective is more for the trainer than the learner. I try to encourage our designers to combine their agendas and their WIIFM statements, so that each piece of the content is tied to something the learner will get out of it. The easiest way to motivate your learner/get them engaged from the get-go is to show them 1) benefits of learning the information; 2) consequences of not learning it; or 3) both. An agenda with no motivation is dead in the water. 

Irene Lubbe

I know this discussion is a few years old - so maybe I am talking to new members now?
I still believe that the overall objective(s) (also known as purpose of the eLearning/module) is what the designer/owner wants the participant to achieve while the learning outcomes are the measurable skills and knowledge the participant will acquire. It guides the participant to inform them of what will be covered during this particular module - and what will be expected of them. (Think SMARTER-outcomes here.)
I have de-registered from a few courses after reading the outcomes and realizing that the module does not contain the content that I thought it would. We should offer the participant the same option. 

Bruce Graham

It must be the most consistent comment I make when working with
suppliers...."*These are YOUR objectives, not the objectives the learners
want to hear"*.
Learners want, (generally...), to do the job and go home, sleep more
soundly at night, get a decent review and/or pay rise once a year, perform
better, do things right etc. etc.
They do not really (just) want to "understand...", "be able to
identify...", appreciate..." and so on.
The conversation MAY be 6 years old, but in many cases we just haven't
moved forwards, AT ALL.
The sponsors/commissioners of training often have little or no idea what
the training should ACTUALLY BE FOR, and never talk to their consumers.
Sad really!

2Training Loan

Great thread to build on here!

My five cents
If given the choice, i would always have the objectives presented to the learner, studies show the sense of "framework" on what should i as learner be focused on helps with the learning process.
However, it is very much target group driven. Senior technicians more often then not... is not like sales people and so on.

So with all the tools available for us as e-learning producers, today i would say it is a question best decided by the instructional designer and they in turn could use blooms wheel to get help with what type of interaction and/or "presentation method" to use for the action verb used.

Also the balance on how to write and formulate/ present objectives to learner can be effected by if the course is mainly informative or behavior focused.

There are better ways to use "bullet points" as has been shown through the great examples from, both SL and Rise articles.

But to not include some sort of "objectives" in any shape or form i think needs some consideration. Even gamification thrives on goals for the learner. Yet they are usually presented on demand or based on branches. They are part of the experience.

First slide and last slide. That is a presentation..

Pretty Chadha
Kate Holmes

Jill Lyall said:

Hi, looking for ideas......we have a national system of training specifications in Australia that sets out the specs for all accredited training.  The specs are set out in Qualifications frameworks and units of competency, all in very dry language.  One of the qualifications in this system is called Certificate IV in Training and Assessment which is the qualification people must have to deliver accredited training - and part of my role is to deliver units in this qualification. 

So at the moment I am grappling with turning the dry and boring language into something with humanity and meaning!  Here are the "outcomes" for one of the units, called "Design and develop learning programs" Element 1:

1.1 Clarify the purpose and type of learning program with key stakeholders

1.2 Access amd confirm the competency standards and other training specifications on which to base the learning program

1.3 Identify language, literacy and numeracy requirements of the program

1.4 Identify and consider characteristics of the target group

I have been inspired by Tom's approach and will definitely try to incorporate some of his ideas but wouldn't mind picking the brain of others - I have already translated the above into "plain English:"

1.1 Who wants our training and why do they want it?

1.2 How do you know what to base your training on?  Are there specified requirements?  Where do you find these?

1.3 What level will you need to pitch your training?  What support will be required?

1.4 Who are your trainees? How will you find out?

Next I have to create some engaging ways of putting these over - any ideas are most welcome !!

It might be cool to set it up as a scenario - 4 people brainstorming, asking each other these questions.