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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Just when you think things won't get more complicated...

Performance Objectives are actually quite near to what I did as a teacher. It is basically spelling out what students, or in this case the learner, should be able to do when they finish the unit or lesson or module. These are related to outcomes, not processes. Because it is impossible to see into someone else's brain and know if they understand the material, the objectives must be observable. There are three components to objectives: action and concept, conditions that exist while they carry out the task, and the criteria to evaluate learner performance. In this book the three areas are summed up as behaviors, conditions, and criteria. Here are my thoughts on each of these.

One thing to consider when writing out objectives is to ask "Could I observe a learner doing this" If answered in the negative then you need to reevaluate the objective. Also this is where terms like know and understand wouldn't work because they aren't observable behaviors. Psychomotor skills are usually easily observable, intellectual skills are more difficult. In the case of intellectual skills one needs to demonstrate they understand/know the skill. Using terms such as identify, classify, demonstrate, or generate are much better than know or understand.

This refers to the circumstances and resources that will be available to the learner while performing the objective. There are four parts: 1 learning cue to search information in memory, 2 characteristics of resource materials, 3 scope and complexity of the task, 4 relevant or authentic contexts. One thing I think is key is the 4th function because ultimately the main point is transferring of the skills from the learning setting to a performance setting.

Judging acceptable performance of the skill. Here is what is tricky, determining what mastery is? I think in some cases its easy because they can either do it or not, in other cases do you decide that 75% is mastery or should it be 80%. I think this could be much harder in written form such as an essay. Rubrics and checklists can be used but its still difficult to define complex criteria and acceptable responses.

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