Learning & Development

How to Write Effective Learning Objectives in 5 Steps

In this post, we're diving deep into the art and science of writing effective learning objectives.

Whether you're an HR professional, a trainer, or an educator, understanding how to craft clear and measurable learning objectives is crucial.

Writing effective learning objectives involves identifying the desired outcome, choosing an action verb, and ensuring measurability.

Crafting effective learning objectives is more than just a task—it's an art form that requires attention to detail, a deep understanding of your audience, and a focus on measurability. In this section, we'll break down each step to make this process as simple as possible for you.

Let's get started

1. Identify the Level of Knowledge

The first step is to pinpoint what you want the learner to gain from the training or lesson. Are you aiming for a change in attitude, skills, or knowledge? Knowing this will help you tailor your objective to meet specific needs.

For example, if you're focusing on skills, your objective might center around mastering a new software tool.

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2. Select an Action Verb

The action verb you choose sets the stage for what you expect the learner to be able to do by the end of the training. Avoid vague verbs like "understand" or "know." Instead, opt for measurable verbs like "identify," "create," or "analyze."

These verbs set clear expectations and can be easily evaluated.

3. Create Your Objective

Now, combine your chosen action verb with the desired outcome or change post training. Make it specific and straightforward.

For instance, if your training is about cybersecurity, your objective could be: "Identify common phishing scams to improve email safety."

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4. Check Your Objective

A well-crafted learning objective should include four key components: audience, behavior, condition, and degree of mastery—often referred to as the A, B, C, D's.

For example, "By the end of this course (condition), new hires (audience) will be able to identify (behavior) at least 8 out of 10 phishing scams (degree of mastery)."

5. Repeat for Each Objective

One objective is rarely enough to cover the full scope of a training program or lesson. Create multiple objectives to offer a comprehensive learning path.

This ensures you have a well-rounded set of metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of your training.

Luckily there's a framework to develop high-quality learning objectives, Bloom's Taxonomy.

Using Bloom's Taxonomy to Structure Learning Objectives

Bloom's Taxonomy is a powerful tool that can elevate your learning objectives. This framework categorizes different levels of human cognition into six stages. By aligning your objectives with these stages and using the right action verbs, you can create a more comprehensive and effective learning experience.


At this stage, learners should be able to generate new ideas or concepts. Objectives might include designing a new marketing strategy or constructing a business model.

Verbs: Design, Construct, Develop


Here, learners are expected to make judgments about the value or effectiveness of a situation, action, or outcome. Objectives could involve assessing the viability of a new product launch.

Verbs: Judge, Critique, Assess


At the analyze stage, learners should be able to break down complex topics or issues into smaller parts to understand them better. Objectives might include comparing and contrasting different leadership styles.

Verbs: Compare, Contrast, Examine


This stage focuses on using learned material in new situations. Objectives could involve implementing a new software tool in a real-world scenario.

Verbs: Implement, Use, Execute


Here, learners should be able to explain ideas or concepts. Objectives might include describing the key principles of effective communication.

Verbs: Explain, Describe, Interpret


At this foundational stage, learners need to recall or recognize information. Objectives could involve listing the steps for effective project management.

Verbs: List, Recall, Identify


Writing effective learning objectives is a cornerstone of successful talent development. At Continu, our Learning Management System is designed to help you seamlessly integrate these objectives into your training programs, making the process easier and more effective.

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Jamie Olson, VP of People & Culture at Continu
Written by

Jamie Olson is the VP of People and Culture at Continu, a leading Learning Management System (LMS) company. With almost 20 years of experience in Human Resources, Jamie brings a wealth of knowledge in areas such as Learning and Development, Employee Training, Talent Management, and Performance Management. She's passionate about creating environments that foster learning and growth, and she's an expert in leveraging technology to enhance HR processes. Jamie's insights are grounded in her extensive experience and her commitment to helping organizations cultivate a culture of continuous improvement.

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