How To Write Performance Objectives

Updated: Oct 27

Once analysis is completed, performance objectives are the basis for the instructional design process. They are the backbone of the curriculum and directly contribute to training material design and development. Their importance cannot be overstated!

What is a performance objective?


A performance objective is a precise, measurable statement of the behaviors that the learner will be able to demonstrate, the conditions under which they will be accomplished and the criteria for acceptable performance. It tells what the learner will be able to do, under what conditions, and to what standard.


Why do I need to write performance objectives?


Not all training is designed to be task oriented or behavior changing. Some training is, and should be, informational and contextual by design.


Performance training, training designed to change task behavior, however, requires performance objectives. Performance objectives are critical to the design of instruction because:

  • They guide the designer in selecting content and developing the instructional strategy for the course.

  • They provide a clear description of what the learners will be covering thus helping prevent instructional gaps or duplication.

  • They indicate to management what learners are being taught.

  • They establish criteria for evaluating learner performance when instruction ends.

  • Well-written objectives can demonstrate the relevance of material to the student, contributing greatly to their motivation for learning.


How do I write a performance objective?


An objective includes four parts:

  1. Who must meet the objective

  2. Under what circumstances the objective must be met (conditions)

  3. What action is required to measure the objective (a verb whose action is visible) (performance)

  4. What level of mastery must be performed to conclude that the objective was met (standards)

To help you write an objective, just remember this format:


Who? when Under what conditions?, will Do what? with Accuracy% accuracy.


For example:

  • Participants, when registering a client address, will key data given to them into the XYZ system with 100% accuracy.

  • The student, when participating in a simulation, will discover a new procedure for troubleshooting equipment failures with 80% accuracy.

  • The operator, when hearing a fire alarm, will use the alarm panel and his or her own visual inspection to determine the source of the fire and activate the appropriate pumps, hoses and halogen fire suppressant systems as represented within 30 seconds of the alarm start.

  • The student, when provided a sample result from a blood gas test, will identify the levels which exceed normal with 10 out of 10 times.

  • The system administrator, when installing a simulated E-mail gateway, will configure the time zone to correspond the time zone of the file server where the gateway is installed with 100% accuracy.

  • The pilot, when receiving a simulated radio command, will accurately execute a 30-degree course change using the flight-guidance system within 15 seconds.

  • The learner, when provided with 5 mixed samples of documentation and training, will accurately categorize at least four of the samples.


Why is it important to show 'under what conditions' the objective must be met?


Specifying the conditions helps you choose an instructional strategy for teaching and assessing how the learner is doing. A popular analogy for this is comparing apples to apples.


Good objectives allow for the performance to occur in an environment where the skill will actually be used later. A true-to-life situation instills confidence, enhances motivation, and maximizes learning transfer and retention.

Continue reading full article via free PDF download...


Good objectives allow for the performance to occur in an environment where the skill will actually be used later, so be sure to grab this free PDF resource that we've put together for you. It's packed with great tips and techniques that’ll help you create top-notch training performance objectives.






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