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Quality Matters Monday: Standard 2.2

Submitted by on June 1, 2015 – 3:08 pmNo Comment

QMIt’s Quality Matters Monday! Each Monday, we will highlight a Quality Matters standard and review its importance in an online course and how we evaluate this standard.

Today, we are reviewing Quality Matters Standard 2.2.

General Standard 2 addresses the necessary components that make up quality learning objectives or competencies, which establish a foundation upon which the rest of the course is based.

Click here to view Quality Matters Standard 2.2 in the Quality Matters Rubric. This standard specifically addresses the inclusion of measurable module-level learning objectives that are consistent with the course-level objectives.


As discussed with QM Standard 2.1, learning objectives should precisely describe what students are to gain from instruction and should avoid vague terminology. Measurable learning objectives also provide the criteria instructors need to accurately assess student accomplishments.

It is important to know that learning objectives or competencies at the module/unit level align with and are more specific than course objectives or competencies. The module/unit learning objectives or competencies describe learner mastery in more specific, observable terms and in smaller, discrete pieces than the course learning objectives or competencies.

For example: By the conclusion of this module, students will be able to summarize the mechanisms of inheritance and the process by which protein and DNA are synthesized.

Additionally, begin each learning objective with an active verb. Consult Bloom’s Taxonomy Verb Wheel to find the best verb for each objective. Aim for higher cognitive levels rather than simple recall. Use verbs such as analyze, synthesize, evaluate, explain, etc. Ensure that the verb you select matches the method you will use to assess student learning.

For more resources on writing learning objectives, click on the links below:


The purpose of alignment (consistency) is intended to convey the idea that critical components work together to ensure that learners achieve the desired learning outcomes. QM states that this alignment can be shown either implicitly or explicitly; however, we recommend that the alignment is stated explicitly. This helps everyone in the short-term (instructors, TAs, students) and long-term (administrators, accreditors, instructors, future instructors).

Here is an example of one way you can explicitly show that the module learning objectives or competencies align with the course learning objectives or competencies:

Course Objective or Competency

Module Objectives or Competencies

Upon completion of this course, learners will demonstrate mastery of rules of punctuation.

1. Learners will write sentences that demonstrate correct us of commas, semicolons, and periods.

2. Learners will use apostrophes when, and only when, needed.

3. Learners will use double and single quotation marks correctly in quoted material.

Lastly, be sure to include the learning objectives in places where the students will not miss them. We suggest including them in the syllabus and at the beginning of each week. That way, the students know exactly what to expect and they can use the learning objectives as a checklist at the end of the module to ensure they met each one.

In our demo course, BUSN 7000 Start-Ups: Venturing Into Entrepreneurship, the module learning objectives appear a couple places.

1. The module learning objectives are located in the syllabus, along with their alignment with the course objectives.

QM Standard 2.2 a

2. The module objectives are included on each Module Overview page:

Module 1 Overview

Click here to access Quality Matters eLearning Marketplace. The Quality Matters eLearning Marketplace is a free, searchable database built to serve the broad QM community with an easy-to-use eLearning product/service directory organized within the 8 general standards of the rubric as well as by user and product categories.

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