Achieving Your Big Ideas through Alignment of Learning Objectives



Thus far, we have identified the big ideas we have for our subject areas and to some extent our long term goals. In the video presented here Wiggins makes the point that our long term plans are not always achieved. What we say we would like to achieve over the year and what we actually achieve do not always align. 

As we move towards developing the skill of writing learning objectives, we must think about our overarching goals. We must seek to align our big ideas or generalizations to our learning objectives. 

In this session, you will work in groups to complete the end goal of writing a general objective and related specific objectives for a higher order task.


Creativity, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills are considered to be important to the 21st century learner. By the end of this session you will align these larger goals with your general and specific objectives. 

The deliverables for this activity are as follows:

  1. Write a general objective for a unit of study from your subject area.
  2. Identify a higher order task that is relevant to the topic or unit of study you have selected. - Formulate a plan to determine the number of tiles needed for an irregular shaped room, design an experiment to separate a mixture of sand and salt, create a web page using HTML and CSS, evaluate the government's decision to legalize marijuana, create an infographic to inform secondary age students about the importance of reparations.
  3. Write specific objectives that are related to the general objective given above.
  4. Present orally deliverables 1 and 2. Explain how these will lead to the achievement of learners' creativity, critical thinking or problem-solving skills. Use an appropriate medium to present your work visually e.g slideshow, infographic, advance organizer




Read pages 6-10 in your Planning for Instruction Guide. This will aid in achieving each of the objectives below.

1. Differentiate between general and specific objectives.

2. Identify the essential components of a specific objective.

*Complete pages 1-3 for the above link. Please note it is not always necessary to include the condition. 


WORK COLLABORATIVELY TO DO 3, 4 and 5. (1 hour)

3. Select a higher order task for a topic in your subject area that targets learners' creativity, critical thinking or problem-solving skills.

4. Use Bloom's taxonomy to determine the prerequisite knowledge or different levels of learning learners would need to achieve the higher order task selected by your group.

*The examples given on this page are useful.

*Download the Learning Objectives file. 

5. Write a general objective and related specific objectives for learners' to achieve the task selected by your group. 



Oral Report (This is not a graded activity). 

You will present your general and specific objectives in the large group. Create a visual/graphic to present. E.g infographic, slideshow, advance organizer

Your peers and facilitator will provide feedback on your presentation. 


General and specific objectives are important for designing effective instruction. These should be matched to your overall learning goals or big ideas. We can easily fall prey to targeting lower order thinking skills when we do not align our overarching goals and vision with our medium and short term plans. 

Were you able to write specific objectives that would lead to the achievement of a higher order task? 

How did using Bloom's taxonomy guide your achievement of aligning your goal to the writing of the specific learning objectives?

What challenges are you still facing and what do you need to do to overcome them?