I am preparing a lesson plan and I unable to write objective of this session in a correct way.

My question is how do we state objectives of sessions such as:

1- Avoiding common mistakes in Email
2- Avoiding common mistakes when meeting someone for the first time
3- Avoiding common mistakes in writing 

They all have one objective and that is how to avoid common mistakes(and save yourself from jeopardizing your career, for example in case of emails).

I want to understand how do we present this objective to the audience or students.

My attempt is something like this:

At the end of the session the participants would be able to understand how to avoid common mistakes in email communication that can lead to serious issues

But I am not very please with this statement. Really appreciate your help in drafting a good objective phrase.

  • It seems fine to me. Don't forget to close with a reminder of the objectives. Even your numbered list, perhaps with 4 - Etc. would be fine if you want to stress a broader lesson. – Buffy Aug 7 '18 at 13:53
  • Agree with @Buffy. This looks good. If you have a 80-90% solution, is it worth the extra time required to eke out a 99% solution? – SecretAgentMan Aug 7 '18 at 14:58
  • @SecretAgentMan I am sorry, did not get your point. – gpuguy Aug 7 '18 at 16:06
  • @gpuguy I wanted you to know (1) what you have looks good already and (2) the benefit of making it just a little bit better may not be worth the time investment. To paraphrase GEN Patton, a good enough (80%) solution we can use today is better than a perfect solution later. Perhaps I should leave out the philosophy. Good luck. – SecretAgentMan Aug 7 '18 at 17:00
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    Have a look at the verbs used in Bloom's Taxonomy or more recent revisions thereof. If, for example, a student can list the common mistakes in X, then the student will be able to avoid them. – Bob Brown Aug 8 '18 at 0:48

Disclaimer: Mostly opinions.

First. I'd suggest perhaps one level down in terms of the verb choice. What the course will likely do is to introduce an array of possible mistakes in these activities so that audience can avoid committing them. So, the objectives should not be "avoiding" but rather along the line of "familiarize with", "able to list", or "be introduced to a survey of." Whether to avoid or not is really not the takeaway.

The general tip of writing objectives is to think: "If I am going to assess whether my audiences have learned my messages, what are the aspects I will be testing?" Very likely, you are not going to give them a mistake-prone situation and see if they avoid it in real life; but perhaps provide a list of scenarios and see if they can identify which one is likely going to cause a mistake, and which is a safer/more professional approach. In other words, you'll be testing their knowledge and attitude, and not their behavior after class. Yet. your current objectives are about their behaviors.

Second, perhaps add some specificity. E-mail for what? Talking to family members? Someone whose pets just died? Business? Potential dates? If someone just picked up this one page of objectives, is there enough information for the person to decide if he/she should consider your course offer?

Third, consider providing a clear set of general benefits. After learning all these objectives, what will likely happen? Will they have a better commands in communicating with people in professional setting? In other words, what are the aspirations of your course, that you won't be teaching directly, but the audience may be able to realize that if they follow your advice?

Meanwhile, beware of over-promising. Communication is at least a two-way process and even your audience did everything "right," mistake may still happen. I'd suggest perhaps more neutral wording such as "achieve high level of clarity..." so as to "minimize potential miscommunication or mistakes."


"You're not going to open with that are you?" ---- Jerry Seinfeld, The Limo

When you're constructing a teaching session, the objectives need to be set in context by first giving your audience a motivating example for why they should bother to listen to you at all. In the present case this is easy, because there are enormous numbers of stories on the internet about disasters that have occurred from common email mistakes (see e.g., here, here, here, here and here).

The first thing you need to do in your session is to motivate your audience, which can be done by telling one or more of these stories about email disasters. Now they are listening, and probably laughing, so you've also broken the ice. You have set the context of the session by showing what can go wrong when people make mistakes, so now you can set out your objectives in context --- e.g., "At the end of this session you will be able to understand how to avoid common mistakes in professional email communications that can lead to serious issues; that way you won't end up like poor [person from funny story]."

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