September 02, 2020
Series: Better Childbirth Education By Design - Writing Objectives for Your Childbirth Classes
By: Andrea Lythgoe, LCCE | 0 Comments
Today, please enjoy the third post in the series: Better Childbirth Education By Design, a special Connecting the Dots series written by skilled educator LCCE Andrea Lythgoe. Andrea has been a frequent contributor to Connecting the Dots over the years with some very popular and informative posts. Instruction design is a field that applies systematic approaches to planning education. Lots has been written about its use in a wide variety of fields, from K-12 education to higher education, corporate training and even the US military. In this series - Better Childbirth Education by Design, Andrea introduces readers to a very common model of instructional design, called ADDIE, and demonstrate how childbirth educators can use this process to create and refine your childbirth classes. Today, Andrea discusses an easy to follow template for writing clear and useful "terminal" learning objectives. To find the entire Better Childbirth Education By Design series, follow this link. - Sharon Muza, Connecting the Dots Community Manager
Your first step in design is to decide what your overall goal for your classes is. Instructional designers call these “terminal objectives” as they are your end goal. It is important to write your objectives about what the STUDENTS will come out of the class with, so that your class remains focused on meeting their needs over what you do for the class.
For the natural birth classes I teach in a hospital, I have two terminal objectives:
Students will leave my class with increased confidence in their ability to birth and parent.
Students will leave my class with knowledge of navigating a hospital system for however their birth plays out.
These are very broad, by design. In designing a class, it is helpful to break it down into smaller objectives. You might choose to also have 1-2 terminal objectives for each session in your series, making sure that these align with and support your overall objectives. For example, the sixth week of my class has two terminal objectives:
Students will be able to describe a common postpartum experience for parents.
Students will know common newborn characteristics.
Again, these are broad and not specific, and that is okay at this step.
Your next step is to break it down into enabling objectives, these are smaller steps that will help your students reach the terminal objectives. This is where you write very specific narrow objectives, keeping in mind that these objectives need to align and support the terminal objectives.
For example, for the postpartum and newborns objectives above, you could have enabling objectives like:
By the end of this class, students will be able to list the six normal newborn states, and identify which state provides the best opportunity for bonding.
Before their baby comes, parents will be able to put together a postpartum care plan that meets their needs.
You can have as many enabling objectives for each class as you feel you need. You may find that some classes have more than others. Remember, objectives should focus on what the learner will do, not on what the instructor will do, and not on activities to do.
A well written enabling objective can have three parts:
1. The task you want your students to be able to take. This could be that you want your students to be able to demonstrate knowledge, this could be that you want you students to be able to practice a breathing technique, participate in a role play, etc. The next article in the series will give you some ideas of the various kinds of verbs you can use in your objectives.
2. Some standards for what defines a successful completion. In the two examples of enabling objectives above, the criteria are “list the six newborn states” and “that meets their needs”. If you are planning a training or class that has an exam or certification at the end, these criteria can be used to create that exam or the required completion level for certification.
Because childbirth classes generally do not have a test at the end, and everyone’s desires for birth are different, your enabling objective criteria can have room for students to decide for themselves. The objective about postpartum plans does this, as the families get to set the criteria of what meets their needs.
If needed, spell out the conditions you want the student to work with or around. So you might say “Given a list of labor techniques, students will be able to identify at least five techniques they anticipate will be helpful during labor. The condition would be “given a list of labor techniques”
Here are some sample templates you might use to write objectives. Just replace the capitalized words with what works for your classes.
Template 1: After completing TRAINING, the learner will be able to PERFORM TASK. This must be done under CONDITIONS, and to STANDARDS.
Example 1: After completing week 3, the learner will be able to demonstrate three different ways to squat. This should be done with support, and while keeping the feet flat on the floor.
Template 2: Students will PERFORM TASK to STANDARDS when given CONDITIONS.
Example 2: Students will practice the double hip squeeze and feel a shift in pressure while on hands and knees or leaning forward.
Template 3: Given CONDITIONS, PERFORM TASK. The TASK will be performed as STANDARDS.
Example 3: Given a list of labor techniques, students will be able to mark 5-10 that appeal to them. The list will be shared with their support system and kept as a reference for labor.
Template 4: TASK with CONDITIONS by STANDARDS.
Example 4: Students will role play a discussion with a labor and delivery nurse, utilizing the BRAIN acronym.
Next up: an exploration of Bloom’s Taxonomy and how it can provide guidance as you write objectives.
About Andrea Lythgoe
Andrea Lythgoe, LCCE is a childbirth educator and doula with over 20 years of experience helping families as they move through pregnancy and birth. She is also the author of UnderstandingResearch.com, the place for birth professionals to learn how to find and read research. Recently, she has gone back to school to study instructional design and strengthen her skills. You can find Andrea at andrealythgoe.com
TagsChildbirth education Andrea Lythgoe Better Childbirth Education by Design Series: Better Childbirth Education by Design