Curriculum design begins with front-end analysis to determine what your students know and what they need to know. Course objectives are then drafted to fill this performance gap. Learning activities and assessments should be referenced to the objectives such that students are learning, practicing, and being assessed only on those skills specified by the objectives.

Instructional Design Models



Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction

Gagne Example – Using the 9 events in the classroom

Kemp Model of Instructional Design

Criterion Referenced Instruction

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Bloom’s taxonomy refers to a classification of the different objectives that educators set for students (learning objectives). It divides educational objectives into three “domains”: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor (sometimes loosely described as “knowing/head”, “feeling/heart” and “doing/hands” respectively). Within the domains, learning at the higher levels is dependent on having attained prerequisite knowledge and skills at lower levels. A goal of Bloom’s taxonomy is to motivate educators to focus on all three domains, creating a more holistic form of education.

The Verb Wheel breaks down the six levels of Bloom’s cognitive domain and associates action verbs (essential for measurable learning objectives or competencies) and student products (the basis for your assessments). You will find this wheel helpful as you assess your learning objectives or competencies and as you consider your assessments.

Bloom’s Taxonomy Guide to Writing Questions provides question stems related to each level.

Iowa State University created A Model of Learning Objectives which is an interactive application of the new Bloom’s taxonomy in action.

Dee Fink created a A Self-Directed Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning based on his taxonomy of significant learning.

Biggs’ structure of the observed learning outcome (SOLO) taxonomy from the Teaching and Educational Development Institute provides a good overview of this taxonomy.

Emporia State University provides overviews of the Affective Domain and the Psychomotor Domain that includes the levels, description, and illustrative verbs.

Educational Origami provides Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy that includes a wealth of resources and ideas for each of the domains of learning.

Roger Mager provides excellent guidance in writing measurable learning objectives. Mager’s Tips on Instructional Objectives provided by Georgia State University.

Northern Virginia Community College offers a great lesson about Writing Measurable Objectives.

A Model of Learning Objectives

Writing Objectives Using Bloom’s Taxonomy

Take Action – Verbs that Define Bloom’s Taxonomy

Best Practices in Syllabus Writing:  Designing a Learner-Centered Syllabus

This article presents an overview of syllabus structure for faculty members and administrators who would like to develop and evaluate their syllabi. Your campus may have specific templates for a syllabus; many sections will align with this resource. A brief overview about syllabus contents and a checklist is provided:

Best Practices in Syllabus Writing