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  • Ruslan Karimov

Storyboarding Step 1 - Define Your Learning Objectives

Welcome back, fellow instructional designers! Today, we’re discussing the most crucial step of the storyboarding process: defining your learning objectives.

Think of this step as setting your GPS coordinates before going on a road trip. Without a clear destination, you’ll end up lost and confused, and so will your learners.

Why Define Your Learning Objectives?

Learning objectives are the foundation of your e-learning course. They are specific statements that describe what learners will be able to do or know after completing your course. These objectives are the destination of your learning journey, providing a clear roadmap for both the designer and the learner.

What Are Learning Objectives?

Learning objectives articulate the intended outcomes of the learning process. They answer the question: “What will learners be able to do once they complete the course?” Well-defined learning objectives guide the development of content, assessments, and activities, ensuring that every aspect of your course aligns with its goals.

Components of Effective Learning Objectives

Effective learning objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). This ensures they are clear and actionable, providing a solid foundation for the course design. Here are the key components to consider:

1. Performance: What the learner is expected to do.

2. Condition: The environment or situation in which the performance occurs.

3. Criteria: The level of performance that will be considered acceptable.

For example, an objective might be: “By the end of this module, learners will be able to write a program in C language to add ten numbers within five minutes.”

The Importance of Defining Learning Objectives

Provides Direction and Focus

Defining learning objectives provides a clear direction for both the course designer and the learners. It helps identify what needs to be covered in the course and ensures that all content is aligned with these goals. This clarity allows learners to stay focused and understand what is expected of them.

Enhances Motivation

Clear learning objectives can significantly increase learner motivation. When learners know what they need to achieve, they are more likely to stay engaged and committed. Objectives act as milestones, giving learners a sense of progress and accomplishment as they move through the course.

Facilitates Assessment

Learning objectives are critical for developing assessments. They provide the criteria against which learner performance can be measured. This ensures that assessments are aligned with the course goals and accurately measure learner progress.

Guides Content Development

Well-defined learning objectives guide the selection and organization of course content. They help distinguish between essential and non-essential material, ensuring that every piece of content supports the overall learning goals. This leads to a more streamlined and focused course.

Steps to Define Your Learning Objectives

1. Identify Learner Goals

Start by understanding what the learners need to achieve. This involves identifying the skills, knowledge, or competencies they need to develop. Aligning your objectives with these goals ensures relevance and increases the course’s impact.

2. Define Learning Outcomes

Next, define what learners should be able to do upon completing the course. These outcomes should be specific and measurable, making it clear what success looks like.

3. Break Down Outcomes

Break down the learning outcomes into smaller, more manageable objectives. This makes it easier to focus on specific tasks and ensures that the course content is digestible.

4. Align Objectives with Assessments

Ensure that your learning objectives align with the assessments. This alignment guarantees that you are measuring the right skills and knowledge, providing an accurate picture of learner achievement.


Defining your learning objectives is not just the first step in the storyboarding process—it’s the most crucial. By starting with clear, SMART objectives, you lay a solid foundation for your course, ensuring it has a clear purpose and direction. Remember, these objectives guide the development of all course elements and help set your learners up for success.

By mastering the art of defining learning objectives, you’re taking the first step toward creating an engaging, structured, and impactful e-learning course. This practice will save time, enhance learner engagement, and ensure your courses are effective and meaningful.


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