Behavioral Objectives and Teaching Plans In Nursing Education

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Behavioral Objectives and Teaching Plans In Nursing Education

Behavioral Objectives and Teaching Plans In Nursing Education,Types of Objectives In Nursing Education,Characteristics of Goals and Objectives In Nursing Education.

Behavioral Objectives and Teaching Plans In Nursing Education

    Previous chapters have addressed the unique characteristics and attributes of the learner with respect to learning needs, readiness to learn, and learning styles. Clearly, assessment of the learner is an essential first step in the teaching learning process. Assessment determines what the learner needs to know, when and under which conditions the learner is most receptive to learning, and how the learner learns best or prefers to learn.

    Before a decision can be made about selecting the content to be taught or choosing the teaching methods and instructional materials to be used to change learner behavior, the educator must first decide what the learner is expected to accomplish. 

    Individual needs are determined by identifying gaps in the learner's knowledge, attitudes, or skills. Identification of needs is a prerequisite to formulating behavioral objectives that serve as a “road map” (Nothwehr, Dennis, & Wu, 2007, p. 794) to guide subsequent planning, implementation, and evaluation of teaching and learning.

    In the 20th century, noted educators and education psychologists developed approaches to writing and classifying behavioral objectives that offer teachers assistance in organizing instructional content for learners functioning at various levels of ability. 

    Mager (1997) has been the primary educator credited with developing a system for writing behavioral objectives that serves to help teachers make appropriate instructional decisions as well as to assist learners in understanding what they need and are expected to know. The underlying principle has been that if one does not know where he or she is going, how will the person know when he or she has arrived?

    In addition, the taxonomic system mottoed by Bloom, Englehart, Furst, Hill, and Krathwohl (1956) for categorizing objectives of learning according to a hierarchy of behaviors has been the cornerstone of teaching for over half a century. 

    This concept of taxonomy that is, the ordering of these behaviors based on their type and complexity pertains to the level of knowledge to be learned, the kind of behaviors most relevant and attainable for an individual learner or group of learners, and the sequencing of knowledge and experiences for learning from simple to the most complex. 

    Based on the original work of Bloom and his colleagues (1956), Anderson et al. (2001) proposed a revision to this initial taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing behaviors. The most prominent differences include changing the names in the six categories from noun to verb forms and rearranging the last two categories.The revisions to Bloom's taxonomy have the potential to make explicit teacher assessment, student assessment, as well as teacher and student self-assessments as patterns of use emerge.

    Skill in preparing and classifying behavioral objectives is a necessary function of the educator's role, whether teaching patients and their families in healthcare settings, teaching staff nurses in in service and continuing education programs, or teaching nursing students in academic institutions. 

    The importance of understanding the systems of writing and categorizing behavioral objectives to specify learner outcomes is imperative if data yielded from educational efforts are to be consistent and measurable. Also, the knowledge and use of these techniques are becoming essential because of the need to quantify and justify the costs of teaching others in an environment characterized by ever increasing cost-containment pressures.

    This chapter examines the importance of behavioral objectives for effective teaching; describes how to write clear and precise behavioral objectives; provides an overview of the taxonomy levels of cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains; and outlines the development of teaching plans and learning contracts. The concept of the learning curve as it applies to mastering psychomotor skills is also discussed. Each of these elements provides a framework for successful teaching.

Types of Objectives In Nursing Education

    It is important to clarify the meaning of the term's educational objectives, instructional objectives, and behavioral or learning objectives. Although often used synonymously, these terms can be distinguished from one another. Educational objectives are used to identify the intended outcomes of the education process, whether referring to an aspect of a program or a total program of study, that guides the design of curriculum units.

     Instructional objectives describe the teaching activities, specific content areas, and resources used to facilitate effective instruction (Morrison, Ross, Kemp, & Kalman, 2010). 

    Behavioral objectives, also referred to as learning objectives, make use of the modifier behavioral or learning to denote that this type of objective is action oriented rather than content oriented, learner centered rather than teacher centered, and short-term outcome focused rather than process focused.Behavioral objectives describe precisely what the learner will be able to do following a learning situation. 

Characteristics of Goals and Objectives In Nursing Education

    The term's goal and objective are often used interchangeably as if they are one and the same. However, a real difference exists between the two terms. This distinction must be clearly understood because it is common to find confusion on the meaning of these terms among nurses and nurse educators alike (Krau, 2011; Wittmann Price & Fasolka, 2010). 

    Two factors differentiate goals from objectives: their relationship to time and their level of specificity (Haggard, 1989). A goal is the final outcome to be achieved at the end of the teaching and learning process. Goals, also commonly referred to as learning outcomes, are global and broad in nature and are long-term targets for both the learner and the teacher. 

    Goals are the desired outcomes of learning that realistically can be achieved usually in a few days, weeks, or months. They are considered multidimensional in that a number of objectives are subsumed under or incorporated into an overall goal.

    An objective, in contrast to a goal, is a specific, single, concrete, one dimensional behavior. Objectives are short term and should be achieved at the end of one teaching session, or shortly after several teaching sessions. A behavioral objective is the intended result of instruction, not the process or means of instruction itself. 

    Behavioral objectives describe precisely what the learner will be able to do following the instruction. Objectives are statements of specific, short-term behaviors. They lead step by step to the more general, overall long-term goal. According to Mager (1997), an objective describes a performance that learners should be able to exhibit before they are considered competent.

    Sub objectives also can be written and reflect aspects of a main objective. They, too, are specific statements of short-term behaviors that lead to the achievement of the primary objective. Objectives and sub objectives specify what the learner will be able to do after being exposed to one or more learning experiences. 

    It is necessary to have both goals and objectives to accomplish something. Goals without objectives cannot be achieved and objectives without goals will never result in anything meaningful and worthwhile. Although the two concepts are distinct and separate, they are closely related and integral to one another (Kumar, 2011).

    Objectives must be achieved before the goal can be reached. They must be observable and measurable for the educator to be able to determine whether they have been met by the learner. Objectives can be thought of as advance organizers that is, statements that inform the learner of what is expected from a cognitive, affective, or psychomotor perspective prior to meeting the goal, which is the desired end result or intended outcome (Surbhi, 2015) . 

    Objectives are derived from a goal and must be consistent with and related to that goal. As an analogy, a goal can be thought of as an entire pie, the objectives as individual portions of the pie that make up the goal, and the subobjectives as bite-sized pieces of a single portion of the pie.

    Together, objectives and goals form a map that provides directions (objectives) as to how to arrive at a specific destination (goal). For example, a goal might be that a patient with heart failure will learn to manage his or her disease. 

    To accomplish this goal, which both the nurse and the patient have agreed on, specific objectives must be outlined to address changes in behavior. These changes would be related to diet, medications, exercise, and fluid monitoring (Buck, McAndrew, Dionne-Odom, Wion, & Riegel, 2015). The objectives to accomplish the goal become the blueprint for achieving the desired outcome of learning. 

    The successful achievement of predetermined objectives is, in part, the result of appropriate instruction. Certainly, many other factors, such as learner motivation and ability to perform, are also key factors to the successful demonstration of specific behaviors before the learner can be declared to have overall competence in the desired behavior.

    If the teaching learning process is to be successful, the setting of goals and objectives must be a mutual decision on the part of both the teacher and the learner. Both parties must participate in the decision making process and buy into the immediate objectives and ultimate goals. Involving the learner right from the start in creating goals and objectives is crucial. 

    Otherwise, time and effort on the part of the educator and the learner may be wasted, because the learner may choose to reject the content if it is deemed at least from his or her perspective to be unimportant, irrelevant, impractical, unattainable, or something already known. Goal and objective setting for any educational experience should be as much a responsibility of the learner as it is of the teacher. 

    Blending what the learner wants to learn with what the teacher has determined that the learner needs to know into a common set of objectives and goals provides for an educational experience that is mutually accountable, respectful, developmental, and fulfilling (Reilly & Oermann, 1990) .

    Objectives and goals must be clearly written, realistic, and learner centered. If the objectives and goals do not specifically identify precisely what the learner is expected to do in the short and long term, then the learning process will lack clear guideposts to follow or an obvious outcome to strive for. 

    Likewise, if goals and objectives are unrealistic in that they are too difficult to achieve, the learner can become discouraged, which dampens motivation and interferes with the ability to comply. For instance, a goal that a patient will maintain a salt free diet is likely to be impossible to accomplish or to adhere to over an extended time. 

    Establishing a goal of maintaining a low salt diet, with the objectives of learning to avoid preparing and eating high sodium foods, is a much more realistic and achievable expectation of the learner.Also, goals and objectives must be directed to what the learner is expected to be able to do, not what the teacher is expected to teach. 

    Educators must be sure not only that their teaching remains objective oriented but also that the objectives are learner centered. This approach keeps educators targeted on results, not on the act of teaching. Educators must remember, as Anderson et al. (2001) emphasize, not all learners will take away the same thing from the same instruction, unless objectives are focused and precisely expressive.

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