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Resources for Program Directors

A Bibliography of Guides for Writing Learning Objectives

Paper Sources

Anderson, Lorin W. & Krathwohl, David R. (2000). A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. Boston: Longman.

Gagne, Robert M., Briggs, Leslie J. and Wager, Walter W. (1992). Principles of Instructional Design, 4th Edition. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers.

Kern, Thomas, Howard & Bass (19) Curriculum Development for

Gronlund, Norman E. 6th edition Merill, Prentice-Hall.

Comments: Well organized and presents the Quellmalz taxonomy which I have found to work immensely better than Bloom's in medical education

Hudson, Andy, Writing Instructional Objectives, unpublished manuscript, The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health.

Kern et al Medical Education;. "This book contains an excellent chapter on writing objectives. I recommend this book for the bookshelves of all medical educators!

Kern, David E. (1998). Curriculum Development for Medical Education: A 6-step approach. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press.

This book provides something directly related to medical education and has some useful examples and a clear and straightforward approach.

Newble, David & Cannon, Robert (2001). Handbook for medical teachers. Dordrecht; Boston: Kluwer Academic.

Mager, Robert F. (1997). Preparing Instructional Objectives: A critical tool in the development of effective instruction, 3rd Edition. Atlanta, GA : Center for Effective Performance

Mager, Robert. F. (1997). Measuring instructional results, or, Got a match? : how to find out if your instructional objectives have been achieved, 3rd ed. Atlanta, GA: Center for Effective Performance.

Rowntree, Derek (1974). Educational Technology in Curriculum Development 2nd edition, London; New York: Harper & Row.

Useful stuff on whose objectives and their uses as well as how to write them. I also like his "Developing Courses for Students". These are both early '80s, I'm afraid.

Yelon, Stephen (19) Goal-Directed Instructional Design: A Practical Guide to Instructional Planning for Teachers and Trainers. It is a self-published book by Dr. Yelon, a professor emeritus of instructional design and educational psychology at Michigan State University. He also teaches curriculum development to academic physician fellows in our Primary Care Faculty Development Fellowship at MSU. He has done so for the last 25 years, so he has a good grasp of writing medical education objectives.

Prideaux, D. (2003). ABC of learning and teaching in medicine: Curriculum design. British Medical Journal, 326, 268-270.

Electronic Sources

IAMSE website,, under the discipline based objectives button, includes objectives for Pharmacology and Micro.

The Oregon Health and Science University website has a set of guidelines for writing behavioral objectives that reflect the competency-based approach of the ACGME.

Cynthia Cartwright, who is on the DR ED list at, has written a brief form of these guidelines which I found useful.

The Medical Physiology Curriculum Objectives Project is a joint project of The American Physiological Society and the Association of Chairs of Departments of Physiology. The project is being headed by Dr. Robert G. Carroll, Professor, Department of Physiology, East Carolina University School of Medicine, Dr. L. Gabriel Navar, Professor and Chair, Department of Physiology, Tulane University School of Medicine, and Dr. Mordecai P. Blaustein, Professor and Chair, Department of Physiology, University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Contact Information

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Ave.
Boston, MA 02215