Behavioral Objectives: Exploring Evaluation Criteria  by@onyawoibi

Behavioral Objectives: Exploring Evaluation Criteria 

May 13th 2022 1,069 reads
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Behavioral objectives are observable, measurable, and streamlined to achieve optimum results for the learner. This article explores the following: What are behavioral objectives  Type of Behavioural Objectives  Behavioral Objectives vs Learning Objectives  Domains of behavioral Objectives  How to Write Behavioural Objectives  Behavioral Objectives Verbs  Behavioral Objectives Writing Checklist  Mistakes when Writing Behavioural Objectives  Behavioral Objectives in Instructional Design 
Celine “Oibiee” Aju  HackerNoon profile picture

Celine “Oibiee” Aju

By 2032 I want to educate 100 out of school children in Nigeria using music, literacy and technology.

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One of the components of the learning experience is behavioral objectives. It is one of the ways  Instructional designers evaluate the efficacy of a training program or learning model. Behavioral objectives are observable, measurable, and streamlined to achieve optimum results for the learner.

Table of Contents:

  1. What are behavioral objectives
    • Type of Behavioral Objectives
    • Behavioral Objectives vs Learning Objectives
    • Domains of behavioral Objectives
  2. How to Write Behavioral Objectives
  • Behavioral Objectives Verbs
  • Behavioral Objectives Writing Checklist
  • Mistakes when Writing Behavioral Objectives
  1. Behavioral Objectives in Instructional Design

What are behavioral Objectives?

A behavioral objective is a learning outcome stated in measurable terms, that guides the learner's experience and serves as the foundation for student evaluation.  A clear and unambiguous statement of a planned educational expectation (s) for the learner is an educational behavioral objective, it states what behavior a student must execute or display in order for a teacher to infer that learning occurred. If appropriately developed, behavioral objectives can be used to draw those conclusions. Behavioral Objectives are about Curriculum, not instruction.

A behavioral objective serves as the main point of the learning plan, as well as providing criteria for generating an assessment of the learning experience and the instructional approaches used by the educator to achieve it. It is difficult, if not impossible, to establish exactly what a learning experience's consequences are designed to achieve without a behavioral target.

Types of Behavioral Objectives

Objectives might differ in a number of ways. They can be broad or narrow in scope, concrete or abstract, cognitive, emotive, or psychomotor in nature. Cognitive objectives stress intellectual achievements including knowledge, comprehension, and problem-solving abilities. Interests, values, attitudes, appreciation, and adjustment strategies are examples of affective objectives. Psychomotor goals involve motor abilities including physical examination and chemotherapeutic administration.

Behavioral Objectives vs Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives outline the important things that learners should be able to achieve after finishing a training program or learning experience. Each learning objective is expressed as an action verb and related to a specific capability or skill. Behavioral objectives outline the specific behaviors that learners are supposed to exhibit after participating in modules or classes. Learning objectives concentrate on the "micro" level, whereas behavioral objectives concentrate on the "macro" level.

Domains of Behavioral Objectives

Cognitive Domain

The cognitive domain is referred to as the thinking domain, at this level the learner is acquiring information that will lead to the development of intellectual, mental, and thinking capabilities. There are six levels in this domain namely: Knowledge level, comprehension level, application level, analysis level, synthesis level, and evaluation level. Each is a bit more complex than the former.

Affective Domain

The affective domain is characteristically the domain of emotions and values, where the student demonstrates what he/ she has learned. The levels in this domain are receiving, responding, valuing, organising, and characterising.

Psychomotor Domain

Psychomotor Domain refers to the doing domain. At this point, there is a lot of kinesthetic learning measured by the learner's ability to carry out the physical tasks. The levels in this domain include perception, set, guided response, mechanism, complex overt response, adaptation, and origination.

How to Write Behavioral Objectives?

Begin by defining a specific content or informative category when writing behavioral objectives. A well-written behavioral objective comprises three parts: the behavior verb, the condition, and the measurement criteria, and it represents an anticipated learning outcome. Behavioral objectives should highlight the conditions of Performance and the Performance Criteria.

Conditions of Performance refer to the circumstances or the context where the behavior will be performed. This concentrates solely on describing the conditions under which the desired behavior should be performed.

The performance criteria are a set of descriptions that specify how well a behavior must be executed in order to meet the learning objective. It specifies how well an action is performed or a minimal acceptable answer in comparison to a set of criteria.

When writing behavioral objectives here are some steps to follow:

  1. Always begin the objective with a verb, this is the most critical part of the objective. It highlights the expected behavior from the learning activities.
  2. State each objective in terms of learner performance. A behavioral objective must be observable and measurable.
  3. Each objective should include only one general learning outcome.

Behavioral Objectives Verbs

The student behavior component of the learning objectives specifies the skill or information to be acquired, as well as the action or competence that the student can exhibit. This element has an action verb that refers to observable conduct or the development of the observable product.


Verbs to avoid include: know, understand, appreciate, have, comprehend, be aware, feel, and believe. These verbs are vague, not measurable, or observable. The goal is to use verbs that can be observed and measured.

Behavioral Objectives Checklist

A behavioral objective should state what the learner will be able to do at the end of the learning session or training program.  Here are three questions to measure the effectiveness of a behavioral objective:

  • Does the objective state the desired outcome, and what the learner will be able to do after the learning session?
  • Does the objective state observable measurable actions?
  • Is the learner the subject of the statement?

Common Mistakes when Writing Behavioral Objectives

  • Writing a statement without an action verb e.g the learner will be able to understand the cause of erosion. This is not a behavioral objective because there is no action tied to the statement and it is not observable. A proper behavioral objective is “the learner will be able to list the major causes of erosion in Nigeria.
  • Writing without focusing on the learner e.g  To list the causes and effects of erosion. A proper behavioral objective would be “learners will be able to list the causes and effects of erosion.”
  • Writing a statement that describes an activity that will take place during the learning. E.g The learner will have a chance to practice the theories taught in class, this is a description of learning activities. A proper behavioral objective will state the expected results for instance “ The Learner will participate in a community building project, where he/she will apply principles taught during the class to prevent erosion from occurring in areas where erosion has been identified by the learner.
  • Writing an objective with more than one expected behavior.
  • Describing what the instructor rather than the learner is expected to do.

Behavioral Objectives in Instructional Design.

Behavioral Objectives play a significant role in designing a learning experience. As an instructional designer, there are some models of instructional design which help in the creation of behavioral objectives. They include  Tyler Model, GNOME Model, Kemp Model, and the Six Step Approach

Crafting Behavioral Objectives is essential for designing any learning experience, it is a vital step that every instructional designer should apply during the design and development phase.

More in Instructional Design

  1. 6 Levels of Learning in Blooms Taxonomy
  2. Behavioral Objectives vs. Learning Objectives
  3. Verb List for Writing Behavioral Objectives

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