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Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives

Clinical Support Center (CSC) "Leading Indian Health Care Education"

Office of Continuing Education

The educational needs you've identified should be translated into statements describing the expected learning outcomes of your activity. Clearly stated objectives give potential attendees a realistic understanding of the nature and purposes of the activity so they can make an informed decision about whether or not to attend. The objectives also help the faculty focus their presentations on the needs of the participants. The participants and the faculty, therefore, need to know the objectives in advance. Ideally, the objectives should be stated in terms of what participants should be able to do for their patients as a result of having participated in the educational activity. Clear objectives will also allow those attending to judge the success of the activity when it is over. Objectives, then, come from the needs and lead to the evaluation.

In summary, the following items should be considered:
____ The objectives are/will be derived from the assessed needs.
____ Learning objectives are/will be written for each presentation.
____ The objectives are/will be written in terms of what the participants will be able to do for their patients, or what influence they will have on health care and its delivery.
____ Faculty members will know the objectives ahead of time.
____ Potential participants will receive the objectives ahead of time.
____ The learning objectives will be used in the evaluation of the success of the activity.

Advice about writing objectives:
State the desired outcomes or actions the participants can expect to demonstrate as a result of the educational experience (changes in abilities, skills, attitudes, or knowledge). Review and incorporate the action words below. Write the learning objectives so they relate to these outcomes and reflect the content of the session. Objectives describe the behavior of the learner, and should at all possible relate to patient care. Learning objectives:

  • Are stated clearly and adequately defines the level of presentation
  • Define or describe an action
  • Are measurable, in terms of time, space, amount, and/or frequency

This can be done by completing the following sentence, “At the completion of this activity, participants will be able to (action verb)…”


At the end of this workshop, the participants will be able to:

  1. Apply a short arm cast.
  2. Recognize and treat the four major dysrhythmias presented.
  3. List the differential diagnosis for acute chest pain.
  4. Incorporate knowledge of traditional diets into care of patients with diabetes.

Useful verbs to facilitate writing of measurable objectives:

Level I:
Level I:
Level 2:
Level 2:
Level 3:
Level 3:
Problem Solving
Knowledge Comprehension Application Analysis Synthesis Evaluation
cite associate apply analyze arrange appraise
count classify calculate appraise assemble assess
define compare complete contrast collect choose
draw compute demonstrate criticize compose critique
identify contrast dramatize debate construct determine
indicate describe employ detect create estimate
list differentiate examine diagram design evaluate
name discuss illustrate differentiate detect judge
point distinguish interpret distinguish formulate measure
read explain interpolate experiment generalize measure
recite estimate locate infer integrate rank
recognize express operate inspect manage rate
relate express order inventory organize recommend
repeat interpret predict question plan revise
select interpolate practice separate prepare score
state locate relate summarize produce select
tabulate predict report   propose test
tell report restate   specify  
trace restate review      
write review schedule      
  translate sketch      

Please note – Words to Avoid: Words or phrases such as know, think, appreciate, learn, comprehend, include, remember, perceive, specify, understand, be aware of, be familiar with, have knowledge of, are not measurable and should be avoided.

The objectives should not be confused with the activity’s goals or an activity’s description; they are no the same thing. Objectives should be communicated to all speakers/faculty to assist them in preparing their presentations and to participants so they will know what to expect by participating in the continuing education activity.

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