For any teaching and learning experience to be successful, students need to understand the goals they’re aiming toward, and instructors need to know whether students have met those goals by the end. These goals are often called learning objectives; statements that clarify what the learner is expected to be able to do by the end of a course or lesson. 

Learning objectives need to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound (SMART). This means they should begin with action verbs that describe precisely how the learner will demonstrate the skills and knowledge they’ve gained. When developing learning objectives, ask yourself, “What kind of thinking do I want students to engage in? How will I know that they are able to analyze, understand, or apply the new knowledge?” Bloom’s Taxonomy is a framework introduced in the 1950’s to categorize learning objectives according to the level of cognitive complexity of the learning activity, and help guide the development of measurable learning objectives.  

The framework has since evolved to incorporate the changing conditions of the educational environment over the years. The more recent evolution of Bloom’s taxonomy – Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy – includes the technological aspect of education, catering to different forms of e-learning. Watch the video by Common Sense Education to gain a basic understanding of Blooms Taxonomy and how it applies to online teaching.