Statement of objectives
Stating objectives is an important step, but is frequently bypassed or given minimal thought. In discussing statement of objectives and the other steps in planning, a simplified example relating to fertilizer will be used.
Often objectives are stated too generally, such as "I want farmers to use fertilizer," or "I want my students to understand the water cycle."
If the farmer's need is to use fertilizer, why isn't he using it? Does he lack information (a knowledge need)? Is he unable to use it (a skill need)? Or, doesn't he see its importance (an attitude-change need)? Once the needs are identified, state objectives that specify what farmers are to do, that is write specific objectives. Following are examples of specific objectives in the areas of agriculture and health.
Agriculture. At experimental plots where fertilized and non-fertilized plants are displayed, farmers are to show their interest by asking questions about the value of fertilizers and how to use them.
Health. After a filmed presentation of the services offered by the Maternal Care Center, expectant mothers will sign up for a field trip visit to the Center.
Agriculture. Following a group presentation showing two types of fertilizers and their uses, farmers should be able to distinguish between them and be able to demonstrate their understanding by explaining when and how both fertilizers should be used.
Health. At the end of a visit to the Maternal Care Center, expectant mothers are able to answer questions about the services the Center can offer them.
Agriculture. After receiving instruction about applying fertilizers, farmers should be able to demonstrate the correct way to apply them.
Health. Following a demonstration of how to bathe a baby, an expectant mother is able to demonstrate, with a "doll-baby" model, the following points: testing for proper water temperature; holding the model as different parts of its body are washed; drying and dressing the model.
Note that a specific objective indicates the means of evaluating the success of a presentation or an instructional material. For the health objective above, how can the demonstrator determine whether or not the objective was achieved? She can find out by asking an expectant mother to bathe the "doll-baby" model, and she can evaluate the mother's performance against the four points stated in the objective.
Attitude, knowledge, and skill needs are not mutually exclusive. Providing information is essential whether the need is for information, for skill, or for changing an attitude. If farmers have never heard of fertilizer, and if the ultimate objective is to have them make a practice of using it regularly and correctly, the objectives must satisfy all three kinds of needs. If, on the other hand, farmers have information about fertilizer and are willing to use it, but lack skill in applying it or keeping it from washing away after application, then the objectives should focus on giving them these skills.
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