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Building a Curriculum Inventory: Event Learning Objectives

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Events and the details they include are the most numerous aspects of your CI. If you were to arrange your CI data into a shape, it would generally look like a pyramid, with program-level data at the upper-most level, courses and modules (the organizing approach) in the middle, and events at the largest bottom level.

Event-level data populates CI reports

Since the events in your CI are where most of the details that will populate curriculum reports can be found, specificity and detail in your event-level learning objectives will be critical. For example, if someone asks where all your disabilities-related curriculum lives, it is unlikely you will have all the disabilities-related curriculum tucked neatly into one, and only one, course. More likely, there will be curriculum content related to disabilities in various locations in the curriculum (e.g., physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, misconceptions about disabilities, conversations with patients about disabilities, diagnosis of disabilities, community and support organizations for patients with disabilities, etc.). To do a comprehensive search of all disabilities-related curriculum content, we need to look mostly at the details in the event-level, especially in the learning objectives. The more thorough and accurate your event-level learning objectives are, the more accurate data reports will be.

Oversight, quality, and consistency of learning objectives

Before you embark on collecting and writing event-level learning objectives, it is recommended that you refer back to your school’s consistent documentation practices you identified in Chapter 2, Where Will Your CI Data Live and Thrive? to help address acronyms, misspellings, and other data quality issues. You can also refer to the learning objective approaches you used for your program objectives in Chapter 3, Program Objectives Drive Curriculum and your course-level learning objectives in Chapter 5, Course-level Details for Your CI

The school-specific reports (e.g., Verification Report, Accreditation Support Report) you will get once you upload your CI data to AAMC can be used to determine where and how your event-level learning objectives will appear.

Access Sample Verification Report and Sample Accreditation Support Report
 

Task #1

Refer to your school’s consistent documentation practices you identified in Chapter 2, the learning objective writing approach for your program-level learning objectives from Chapter 3, and course or module-level learning objectives from Chapter 5. Confirm that your documentation from these chapters is still accurate. Look at the sample Verification and Accreditation Support Reports to examine where your event-level learning objectives will appear.

As you gather (or write) learning objectives for each event in your CI, the same writing principles around course-level learning objectives will apply at the event-level. While collecting learning objectives for each event, you can ask:

  • Are these event-level learning objectives written in descriptive, specific, outcomes-based language?
  • Do these event-level learning objectives accurately and adequately capture the content?
  • Do these event-level learning objectives reflect relevant and up-to-date literature? 
  • Have our content experts in the relevant fields reviewed these event-level learning objectives? Who do we need to include in our event-level learning objectives writing and editing process?
  • Can each of these event-level learning objectives be linked up to a course/module-level learning objective, for the course/module in which this event occurs? This will help identify gaps. Be sure to set thresholds as discussed in Chapter 5, so that faculty take a consistent approach and learning objectives are not over-tagged to each other (thus bloating your curriculum reports).
  • Are these event-level learning objectives meeting our school’s goals (e.g., prepare students for licensing exam, etc.)?
  • Are these event-level learning objectives the right degree of difficulty, do they build upon previous curriculum content as well as prepare students for future curriculum content in this area, and do any of these event-level learning objectives duplicate content students already received? These are all questions about your learning objective alignment.
  • Now that we have event-level learning objectives documented, does the duration of time assigned to this event still make sense? For example, if on the calendar students are attending a 1-hour lecture, but there are 80 event-level learning objectives listed for this lecture, something needs to adjust. There are no hard and fast rules for how many learning objectives are too many, so discussion among your curriculum leaders may help identify some school-specific guidelines. Perhaps for a 1-hour lecture, your school decides that given the amount of detail you expect in your event-level learning objectives, no fewer than 5 but no more than 15 is reasonable.

Task #2

Gather existing event-level learning objectives for each event within your CI and vet them against the questions listed above.

For resources regarding writing learning objectives with effective language, please see the library in our virtual Curriculum Community.

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With whatever approach you choose in writing your learning objectives, it will be helpful to write your school’s guidelines and offer professional development so that faculty take a consistent approach across courses when editing their learning objectives. 

For example, when students are learning to perform a physical exam, will you have a learning objective on every single maneuver, or will the maneuvers be listed in your assessment rubric, with the learning objectives written more broadly (e.g., the abdominal exam)? The approach you take in one area (e.g., X content goes in the learning objectives, Y content goes in our assessment rubrics) could be applied across courses. You also may want a centralized process to review quality and consistency of learning objectives. This will be especially important if you have multiple authors contributing to your learning objectives.

Task #3

Determine your school’s approach regarding level of detail and formatting for event-level learning objectives and determine how to vet drafted learning objectives for quality.

If you find any gaps, or need to make edits to your learning objectives, be sure to complete that step before moving on as you will be using your event-level learning objectives to document instructional and assessment methods, and resources. This is also the time to choose whether you will assign ID codes to each event-level learning objective; recall the detail in Chapters 3, Program Objectives Drive Curriculum and Chapter 5, Course-Level Details for Your CI,  regarding creating a meaningful ID code system for learning objectives.

Task #4

Edit and/or write event-level learning objectives to ensure quality, accuracy, and completeness, and to address any curricular gaps identified. Complete links between event-level learning objectives and course-level learning objectives and assign ID codes as desired.

Chapter 8 key questions

1. Gather our list of events and unscheduled curriculum to include in our CI from Chapter 7. Do we need to make any edits to this list before we proceed? 

2. Gather our consistent documentation practices we identified in Chapter 2. Do we need to make any edits to these before we proceed?

3. Review the sample school-specific reports on the Resources to Use Your CI Effectively webpage. Knowing how our event-level learning objectives will be visible in reports, is there anything we want to adjust about our current event-level learning objective documentation practices before we proceed?

4. Recall the course/module-level learning objective principles we identified in Chapter 5. Are there any further principles or resources we need to identify before we proceed? What will be our centralized process for ensuring quality and consistency across faculty and courses? Can we offer resources and/or professional development to our faculty around writing learning objectives?

5. Per event, the following questions can help in vetting or writing our event-level learning objectives: 

  • Are these event-level learning objectives written in descriptive, specific, outcomes-based language?
  • Do these event-level learning objectives accurately and adequately capture the content?
  • Do these event-level learning objectives reflect relevant and up-to-date literature? 
  • Have our content experts in the relevant fields reviewed these event-level learning objectives? Who do we need to include in our event-level learning objectives writing and editing process?
  • Can each of these event-level learning objectives be linked up to a course/module-level learning objective, for the course/module in which this event occurs? 
  • Are these event-level learning objectives meeting our school’s goals (e.g., prepare students for licensing exam, etc.)?
  • Are these event-level learning objectives the right degree of difficulty, do they build upon previous curriculum content as well as prepare students for future curriculum content in this area, and do any of these event-level learning objectives duplicate content students already received? 
  • Now that you have event-level learning objectives documented, does the duration of time you assigned to this event (in Chapter 7) still make sense?

6. Have we addressed all the identified gaps, and are there any further event-level learning objective edits needed before we proceed?

7. Will we assign ID codes to each event-level learning objective, and if so, what will our system be?

8. What will be our process to update our event-level learning objectives from year to year? Make sure you identified this area of your CI in your Chapter 6 maintenance plans.
 

Additional resources

Log in to the Curriculum Community for additional resources, peer-to-peer conversations, and get your questions answered.

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Access past chapters of the Building a Curriculum Inventory Guidebook

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