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Learning Objectives for Flipping the Classroom

March 18, 2012

Learning objectives are an important part of any lesson, but are twice as important with a flipped lesson. Learning objectives are a guideline for the students and teacher. From a student’s perspective, learning objectives are a guide through the lesson that defines the learning outcomes of the lesson.

From a teacher’s perspective learning objectives are the learning outcomes tied to the lesson. It’s critical that teachers get their ideas on paper in the form of objectives so the students have a precise guideline throughout the lesson. It’s important that the teacher is specific and to the point with their objectives, especially if they are delivering a flipped lesson. If the students are going to be on their own for 50% of the lesson and learning a new topic on their own, they need a well written specific guideline. In my opinion, it’s better to have many granular/specific objectives vs. fewer vague objectives.

Example of a poor vague objective: Know where the femur is and the major landmarks on it.

Better example of the same objective: understand where the femur is located identify the following landmarks: head of the femur, greater & lesser trochanters, linea aspera, medial/later epicondyles, medial/lateral condyles, gluteal tuberosity, proximal vs. distal end, anterior vs. posterior side

As teachers, we want our students to be proficient in their understanding of the material, not just the knowledge. In my mind I here’s how I view knowledge vs. understanding: “knowledge is identifying and recalling different bits of information while understanding is taking different pieces of knowledge and putting them together as coherent, problem solving ideas”.  I believe it’s important for teachers to write the word understanding vs. know into their objectives just to plant the seed of understanding through design. Just seeing that word encourages students to take a deeper look at the material so they can put it to use in applicable situations.

  1. I liked the point that you made about having many specific objectives along the way rather than merely a few vague ones near the end. That way students don’t end up at the end thinking they got it when really they are lost.

    • Thanks, I’m glad you agree. For my anatomy class I have written over 500 objectives between the two classes that offer them a very specific direction. I’m actually going to go back and do a re-write for my anatomy II class because I believe I have too many vague ones for it. Eliminating confusion through design is critical and this is a great way to do that.

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