Thinking about Learning Objectives

By Krishna P. C. Madhavan

Purdue University

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The first and most significant step in the backward design process is the identification of clear learning objectives that will eventually be assessed. Using New Bloom's Taxonomy as the theoretical basis, we highlight how learning objectives can be written such that they focus on cognitive and knowledge processes. We provide examples of good learning objectives and show how they are aligned with the New Bloom's model. Our goal is to allow students to progress from lower order cognitive and knowledge (top left corner of model) learning to higher order applications of the learned content (bottom right corner of model).


The NCN Education and Assessment Group seeks to enable an evidence-based transformation of the engineering curriculum by disrupting less effective pedagogies through the use of NCN resources. We focus on nanoscale engineering and science.


NCN Education and Assessment Group.

Sponsored by

Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN).

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Madhavan, K.P.C. (2009). Thinking about learning objectives. Presentation at the NCN Simulation-based Learning Workshop held in Chicago, IL.
  • Krishna P. C. Madhavan (2010), "Thinking about Learning Objectives,"

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