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Smart Goals

Goals are impacted by...

  • The students in your course
    • All have differing backgrounds, learning experiences, interests and aptitudes
    • All have differing expectations for the instructor and the course
  • The course design framework selected
  • The learning environment(s) in which the learning will occur
  • The course expectations inside and outside of class meetings
  • The teaching strategies and approaches utilized
  • The possible assessment tools and formats that will be employed

 SMART Goals

SMART Goals

  • Are the first step in designing a course (see diagram above)
  • Requires clearly articulating what the learners will be able to do (behavioral) by the completion of the course or learning experiences
  • Well-articulated goals increase learner motivation (Locke and Latham, 2002)
    • They direct effort and attention
    • High/moderately difficult goals elicit greater effort
    • Increase persistence
    • Greater use of task-relevant knowledge
  • SPECIFIC (see Bloom's Taxonomy – Revised and Digitalized)
  • MEASURABLE (behavioral and observable)
  • ATTAINABLE and realistic for the capabilities of the learners and within the allotted time span 
  • RELEVANT and meaningful to the learners, course experiences and ultimate application of the learning
  • TIME-BOUND (e.g. by the end of the course)

Examples

Potential SMART Goals in the health sciences:

  • Dentistry
    • By the completion of the course, the students will be able to sequence the steps/procedures for administering intravenous sedation and general anesthesia to an adult patient for oral surgeries
    • By the completion of the course, the students will be able to administer in the appropriate sequence intravenous sedation and general anesthesia to an adult patient for oral surgeries
  • Medicine
    • By the completion of the clinical, the students will be able to differentiate between written symptoms of diabetes and anemia for 5 patients of varying demographics
    • By the completion of the clinical, the students will be able to differentiate between and accurately diagnose 5 patients with similar symptoms
  • Pharmacy
    • By the completion of the clinical, the students will be able to accurately assess research resources and associated literature to identify specific evidence-based drug information to meet the needs of at least 3 patients of different demographics
    • By the completion of the clinical, the students will be able to clearly and accurately explain specific evidence-based drug information to at least 3 different patients of varying demographics

Creating Pertinent Goals/Objectives

References

Locke, E. A., and Latham, G. P. (2002). Building a practically useful theory of goal setting & task motivation: A 35­year odyssey. American Psychologist, 57, 705–717

Last Published: Mar 12, 2021