Learning Objectives:

  • understand the Design stage of Addie
  • know how to create learning objectives and produce Mager-style (1997) objectives for the PDC course.
  • understand Bloom’s Taxonomy and create comprehensive lesson plans based on Bloom’s Taxonomy for each learning objective

The Design stage in the ADDIE Model is a systematic approach to create a rational and planned strategy or set of strategies to help learners meet the goals of the PDC course. This phase pays particular attention to the creation of learning objectives, course materials, subject matter content and analysis, learning exercises, lesson planning, and methods to assess if the learner has met the objectives and is moving toward the overall goals. The design phase needs to be specific with a systematic and logical design plan comprised of an orderly process of identification, development and evaluation through planned strategies that target goals of the PDC course.

During the design stage, the IDs need to determine:

  1. Establish learning objectives and how they relate to the overall goals of the course.
  2. Create lesson plans to assist learners in meeting learning objectives and determine the progression (ie scaffolding).
  3. Determine the level and types of activities and exercises that will take place; will they be collaborative, interactive or self-guided?
  4. Identify the cognitive processes needed by the learner in order to meet the learning objectives.
  5. Identify different types of media to be used (audio, video, graphics) Are third party resources going to be utilized or will the IDs create their own?
  6. Implement Universal Design to ensure that the PDC course fits different learning styles (tactile, audio, visual, etc).
  7. Identify various resources available to create and complete each lesson.
  8. Determine how the lessons will be delivered (online, face-to-face,or a combination).
  9. Establish a time frame for each activity and each task.
  10. Determine the method(s) used to assess the learner’s success in acquiring new knowledge and skills developed after each lesson and/or task.
  11. Create a visual framework or blueprint (ie flowchart) on the organizational structure ofthe PDC course and how each lesson ties into its objective, and how each objective is in line with the overall goals of the PDC course.
  12. If the PDC course will be all or partially web-based, create an organizational chart of the website design.
  13. Elicit feedback from experts; PDC instructors, subject matter experts, etc and revise accordingly. Create a mechanism obtain learner’s feedback (both formative and summative).

Creating Learning Objectives


Before deciding on course content and materials to cover in a PDC course, it is import to design a strong internal structure that is conducive to student learning by aligning three main course components: Objectives, Assessments, and Instructional Strategies (Carnegie Mellon 2016).

  • OBJECTIVES specify the knowledge and skills learners are expected to acquire by the end of the course
  • ASSESSMENTS allow the instructor to determine if the learners are meeting the learning objectives
  • INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES are facilitate learning towards meeting the objectives

Learning objectives are in-depth explanations of what learners will be able to accomplish at the end of instruction (Mager 1977). A well-written objective will start with an action verb and include a specified behavior, a condition, and criteria (Aritzhaupt et al 2016). Each learning objective should have an accompanying assessment instrument to determine if the learner has met the objective. The YOUTUBE video by elearning Girls below describes how to write specific and measurable learning objectives.


Instructional Strategies – Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning

Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning (Bloom 1956) is a cognitive learning theory that rests on six levels: Remembering (recalling facts, terms, basic concepts, and answers), understanding facts and ideas by organizing, comparing, translating, interpreting, giving descriptions, and stating the main ideas, applying acquired knowledge to solve problems in new situations, analyzing new information by breaking it down into parts to make inferences and and support generalizations, and evaluating new information by making judgments about information, validity of ideas or quality of work based on a set of criteria. The YOUTUBE video below by describes how Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning can be applied to the production of learning objectives as a framework for structuring instructional strategies.

scaffoldmodelScaffolding refers to a variety of instructional techniques designed to help learners progress toward meeting the learning objectives though a series of multilevel exercises that facilitate higher comprehension of new knowledge and the acquisition of new skills. In the same way as physical scaffolding, the instructional strategies are supportive and incrementally removed when they are no longer needed and the learner gradually assumes more responsibility over the learning process.  Scaffolding instructional strategies bridge  learning gaps – the difference between existing knowledge and the learning objectives.  Merrill (2002)  five ‘principles of instruction’ can provide a useful framework for scaffolding learning activities. Unlike variable methods, Merrill defines principle (basic) as a ‘relationship that is always true under appropriate condition regardless of program or practice.’ His five principles are;

  1. Real-world problem solving promotes learning: ‘Problem’ is broadly defined to include a wide range of activities from engaging in a situation to being involved in a real-world task. Unlike topic-centered instruction that addresses a single component, problem-centered takes a more holistic approach,
  2. Activating existing knowledge as the foundation for new knowledge promotes learning: Activation demands that the educator assess the learner’s previous knowledge as a foundation to build new knowledge. To do this, the educator must begin by assessing learner experiences rather than jump directly into new material.
  3. Demonstrating new knowledge promotes learning: Demonstration provides a ‘show don’t tell’ method of instruction that offers a tangible representation of abstract concepts.
  4. Applying new knowledge promotes learning: Application adds practice to information in a ‘learn by doing’ approach to knowledge acquisition. Application also requires evaluation and feedback from the educator.
  5. Integrating new knowledge into the learner’s world promotes learning: Integration challenges the learner to incorporate new knowledge into their everyday life by presenting new information, engaging in discussion with new information, inventing or exploring different directions with new information.

Merrill’s five principles position the learner as an active participant in the learning process and placing responsibility on the educator to draw from the learner’s existing knowledge and experiences to make new knowledge relevant to the learner.

Now that you have an understanding of the basic elements of the Design phase in the ADDIE model of instructional design, it is time to design the basic structure (objectives, assessments – instructional strategies) of the PDC course for Alachua County.


Objectives for Permaculture Design Courses

Objectives for UMass Sustainable Agriculture & Farming Program PDC course

cliparti1_discussion-clipart_03For Discussion:

Consider the overall goals of the PDC course as well as the analytical data during analysis, research learning objectives from PDC courses in addition to what is presented in the readings and produce several Mager-style learning objectives related to Permaculture in Alachua. Post in the comments below.



Group Project:

Evaluate and revise the learning objectives produced in discussion and use Bloom’s Taxonomy to create lesson plans comprised of activities and exercises that will help learners meet the learning objectives




Create lessons designed to meet each objective and construct a visual framework or blueprint (ie flowchart) on the organizational structure of the PDC course and how each lesson ties into its objective and how each objective is in line with the overall goals of the PDC course. Be sure to specifiy course materials, media, resources, mode of delivery, etc.

Now that you have established the objectives, lessons, and assessments for the PDC course, now it is time to create a prototype of the PDC course in the Development Lesson.

References and Further Reading

Aritzhaupt et al. ADDIE Explained accessed on February 5, 2016.

Bloom, B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook I: The Cognitive Domain. New York: David McKay Co Inc.

Carnegie Mellon Institute. Design & Teach a Course: LEarning Objectives. Accessed on February 12, 2016

Mager, R.F. (1997). Preparing Instructional Objectives: A Critical Tool in the Development of Effective Instruction (3rd ed.). Atlanta, GA: The Center for Effective Performance Inc.

Merrill, M.D. (2002) First Principles of Instruction. Educational Technology Research and Development. 50 (3) 43-59


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *