learning objectives: you need feed back to make them work


If you read my blog on a frequent basis you will know that I believe that Learning Objectives and learning are two sides of the same medal. I want to share a story with you that gave me an insight yesterday.

Some time ago I wanted to improve my bathroom and in a moment of insanity I decided that I would do that myself. It worked out sort of OK, but every now and then the bathroom would leak. Because it is situated on the second floor, I have a problem on the first floor as well. This was not a part of my master plan. So I needed to have a contractor that could fix that for me. I hired Albert, a local contractor, that did some fine work for us a while ago. So last week he was in my house for a few days fixing the problem. I work 3 days a week from home, so he saw me sitting in my office; mailing, conferencing, calling (over VOIP) and all the other stuff you do when you work. He was really amazed that all this was possible. He told me that he has a website (made by a local guy) and that that guy also installed a PC with internet connection and mail in his home three years ago. He never touched it since, because he hasn’t got a clue what to do with it.

Later on he decided that I would need a new shower base (if that is the proper word for it; anyway I mean the thing you stand in while taking a shower), and he told me that it would cost me between 350 and 400 Euro. I surfed the web and found the perfect one in 5 minutes for 130 euro, I ordered it and paid for it on-line. He was in awe and understood that it would be profitable for his business if he would be able do that as well. I offered him to teach this. So we set out to define the learning objectives for this, they became (with the action mapping rules in mind):

  1. Albert is able to send and answer mail from his own PC
  2. Albert is able to search ‘Marktplaats’ (a Dutch eBay) and buy things from it

They looked simple enough. Yesterday evening I went over to his house and we started. It turned out he did really know nothing about computers at all. I had to explain that you don’t only have to place your mouse on the desired position, but that you have to do a left mouse click as well. When he typed a few words he asked me ‘How can I get a gap between the words?’ and I had to explain the function of space bar to him.

spacebar 3

Based on his feed back I had to adapt our learning objectives. They became:

  1. Albert knows how to operate the main function of his PC
  2. Albert understands the difference between mail and internet
  3. Albert is able to sent and answer mail from his own PC

We went on from there and decided that we would need several session to reach the original objectives. For me this was a learning moment. We changed not only the learning content but the learning objectives as well. With easygenerator we are proud on our adaptive courses that will advise a learner on an individual basis; but only on a content level. I now realize we have to offer facilities on the level of learning objectives as well. Another two hours well spent.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s