Learning goals allow instructors and their students to focus on what they are learning. When learning goals are explicit, they guide students’ decisions on where to focus learning effort and illustrate what they are to take from a given task. Learning goals also ensure that the most important things are evaluated and that courses are best designed to meet goals for students. Good learning goals are specific, measurable and focused on the students’ abilities.
There are three types of learning goals. Small, activity-level goals address a specific skill or knowledge related to a small portion of the course. Medium, unit- or topic-level goals focus on the development of a set of skills or more general knowledge related to a topic of relevance to the course. These goals will be moderately specific and are measured by medium-scale items, like a series of topics or activities. Larger, course-level goals look at a student’s overall success during the course. Course-level goals are broader and are measured by large-scale items like final exams or papers.