Back to Basics: Learning Objectives in Education 2

To continue the ‘Back to Basics’ series, I am going to revisit learning objectives after the original post back in January (


Back in January I spoke about building learning objectives around a specific format:

To be able to…Verb/Adjective/Context

Since then, I have been introduced to another learning objective prefix that includes learning outcomes for learners.

To know
To understand
To be able to

The ‘Know’ Objective
This objective states what students should ‘know’ by the end of the lesson. The objective should be met in the starter for students to progress to higher learning skills as a basis of knowledge for the lesson.

An example might be to know three key teaching points/rules of a serve in badminton.

The ‘Understand’ Objective
This objective extends the learners to understand the skill in a context. It makes learning ‘deeper’, rather than just to ‘Know’.

The ‘To Be Able To’ Objective
Is linked to the differentiated outcomes and assessment criteria where students demonstrate their ability to meet throughout the lesson. These should be linked to the Blooms verbs to differentiate outcomes for students.

The differentiated outcomes (usually 3) should also be highlighted below the objective. They should be linked to the national curriculum levels or the accredited courses assessment (if KS4). At my current placement school, they link assessments to the OCR GCSE specification for each activity in core PE – very effective for both GCSE PE and core PE assessments.

It is a fantastic tool for a clear criteria for peer assessment, self assessment and teacher assessments that all learners an teachers (including support staff/observers) can base their learning on.

Here is an example of the learning objectives for a table tennis lesson.

To know how to perform an accurate and controlled backhand push
To understand why it is important to adjust the length and angle of the shot
To be able to demonstrate the backhand push
– during practice (4A)
– during competitive game situations (5C)
– with backspin and/or topspin (6B)

Here is an example use in a recent striking and fielding lesson:

Good practice would be to highlight keywords on the board for students to use during the lesson. Maybe during a plenary linked to Literacy in PE and for students to demonstrate their understanding during conversations with teachers and peers – or a written sentence on a mini whiteboard to justify peer/self assessment.


8 Comments Add yours

  1. hakkiozkarakas says:

    It is agreat revise for understanding how to write objectives.

  2. Kate Ward says:

    I have done some work on this before tweet me @k8lw and remind me on Monday I will send you a couple of things I produced for it

  3. Stephen Alexander says:

    Great way of outlining to the kids what they should pick up at practice. I plan to use this a lot at football.

  4. Elegg says:

    At my school we have 3 ILO’S but use Blooms Taxonomy to ensure higher level thinking. For each ILO we have 3 based on NC Levels to support differentiation.

  5. Hunter Reid says:

    I agree this is a great way of outlining for kids to use will definitely be using it in my practices in the future.

  6. I agree with all the posters above. This is an amazing way to outline for kids. I will most certainly be adopting this for when I teach.

  7. Anto Palmer says:

    Do you still us this approach within your PE teaching? Should the ‘be able to’ refer to being able to ‘Application’ of skills, tactics etc?

  8. Anto Palmer says:

    Do you still us this approach within your PE teaching? Should the ‘be able to’ refer to ‘Application’ of skills, tactics etc?

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