Goals, objectives and outcomes: Selecting, defining six different kinds, & possible domains



This page explores goals, obectives, & outcomes. Their different definitions, how they can be selected, applications with examples, and their different domains.

Goal is a broad or general statement reflecting the ultimate ends toward which the total educational program is directed. (Sometimes refered to these as aims.)

Goal an immediate objective or outcome that a person desires and executes a behavior or sequence of behaviors to attain.

Motivation - hunger; Goal - food; Objective - raid the refrigerator; Outcome - eat and be satiated.

Objective is a statement specifying the purpose of a particular activity or action. There can be several different ways to communicate this information. Ranging from general to specific and for different domains of understanding. Six different kinds (General, Specific, Instructional, Behavioral, Performance, Expressive) are reviewed below with examples.

Outcome is a statement specifying desired knowledge, skills, processes, and attitudes to be developed as a result of educational experiences.

Outcome is a description of what learners do to demonstrate understanding, skill, or competence.

Outcome levels describe different levels of what learners may do to demonstrate a level of skill, competency, or conceptualization of a concept they have achieved from beginning to advanced.

Selection of objectives

Objectives can be selected from:

  1. an organizational topic, subtopic, theme, subject, subject dimension or category, disposition, process, ...
  2. previous skills or objectives.
  3. the teaching-learning experience, both the learner's and teacher's experiences.
  4. curriculum documents, standards, school, district, state, national.
  5. new ideas related to the scope and sequence of a topic, standard, or big idea from a problem that arises or identifiction of content that wasn't previously identified or foreseen.

Kinds of Objectives

General objectives

A statement reflecting the purposes of a particular unit or level of the school program, such as elementary, middle level, or high school.

Specific objectives

A statement reflecting a short-range or more immediate purpose involved in a specific teaching-learning activity, such as unit or daily plan.

Instructional objectives

Clarify for the teacher what the learner will do (instructional purpose). This clarification can guide the design and selection of meaningful content, activities, and resources as well as guide the learners' progress. This is based on the belief that students need to be told how they are to be active in order for them to learn.

As the task becomes more complicated an instructional object can be thought of as becoming a scoring guide or rubric. One example is the use of scoring guides or rubrics with Six or more Traits Writing as instructional objectives.

Behavioral objectives

Were origninally used for changing or developing behavior when the philosophy was that only obsewrvable behavior could be measured, therefore what happened inside the brain was irrelevant. To list ... To write .... To state... Today these may be also be called performance objectives.

Performance Objectives

Performance objectices have five components:

  1. what is done,
  2. who is to do it,
  3. when is it to be done,
  4. what level of proficiency, and
  5. with what.

Expressive objectives

Are used to personalize instruction to meet a wide range of possible outcomes.

Domain Referenced Objectives

Are objectives that relate to one or more of the three general domains of learning.

  1. cognitive;
  2. affective and;
  3. psychomotor.

All activities involve all three domains, however, not all are usually identified, depending on the instructional focus. Which is usually cognitive. Hence, the popularity of Bloom's taxonomy when cognitive domains are referenced. For examples see taxonomies information.

Examples in curriculum areas planning, activities, & curriculum documents:


Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
[Home: homeofbob.com & thehob.net ]