Mager and ABCD method: Writing behavioral objectives


This week in IPT 536 the focus was on writing behavioral objectives using the ABCD (audience, behavior, conditions, degree) or Mager method (performance, conditions, and criteria).  I must admit this was QUITE hard at first.  As a teacher I am familiar with the audience and behavior part of the objective but the conditions and degree were quite tricky.  It took review from my class mates, re-reading, practicing again, and few revisions to finally get the hang of it.

BACKGROUND: Ralph Tyler’s work is well known for  two accomplishments during his Eight-Year Study

  1. the use of instructional objectives
  2. the use of continuous evaluation for improvement.

Tyler (Chyung, 2006) stated that a clearly stated objective should be written in two dimensions: 1. the behavioral aspect and 2. the content aspect. This was a precursor to the development of behavioral objectives.

So how do you write a behavioral objective? As depicted in the following table, there are certain ingredients that should be included in an objective. Mager’s method and the ABCD method are the most popular methods . In training and workplace learning situations, the focus of the performance, the conditions, and the criteria should be on what exemplar performers do on the job. This way, learners who master the objectives can perform on the job.

Table courtesy of Instructor Carol Porter
ABCD Method (Heinich, Molenda, Russell, & Smaldino, 1999) Mager’s Method In Workplace Learning Situations
Audience (Who is the learner?) (not included or assumed)
Behavior (What will the learner be able to do at the end of instruction?) Performance (What is the learner expected to be able to do?) What should the learner be able to do on the job?
Conditions (Under what conditions will the behavior be observed?) Conditions (Under what conditions is the performance expected to occur?) Under what conditions does the performance occur on the job?
Degree (How accurately should the learner complete it?) Criteria (What is the level of competence that should be accomplished?) What criteria does the performance meet  on the job?

Examples courtesy of Instructor Carol Porter

Here are a couple of examples using Mager’s method:

  1. Given a customer interested in buying a car [conditions], sales reps should be able to close the sale [performance] 80% of the time [criteria].
  2. Given an oral description of the events involved in an accident [conditions], learners be able to correctly [criteria] fill out a standard accident report [performance].

The same examples can be explained with the ABCD method:

  1. Given a customer interested in buying a car [conditions], sales reps [audience] should be able to close the sale [performance] 80% of the time [criteria].
  2. Given an oral description of the events involved in an accident [conditions], responding officers [audience] should be able to  fill out a standard accident report [performance] correctly [criteria].

NEXT IT WAS OUR TURN

Our task was to write three instructional objectives, each of which uses a different level of Bloom’s taxonomy . Please focus on writing objectives that describe what people should be able to do in the workplace as a result of completing the instruction. The workplace could be a business, government, military, or non-profit setting.

Click the image to see a full version of my example. Please feel free to comment.  This is definitely a skill I am going to have to practice and would definitely love some constructive feedback

ABCD Method (Heinich, Molenda, Russell, & Smaldino, 1999)

Mager’s Method

In Workplace Learning Situations

Audience (Who is the learner?)

(not included or assumed)

Behavior (What will the learner be able to do at the end of instruction?)

Performance (What is the learner expected to be able to do?)

What should the learner be able to do on the job?

Conditions (Under what conditions will the behavior be observed?)

Conditions (Under what conditions is the performance expected to occur?)

Under what conditions does the performance occur on the job?

Degree (How accurately should the learner complete it?)

Criteria (What is the level of competence that should be accomplished?)

What criteria does the performance meet  on the job?

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About IPTtoolkit--Eboni DuBose

Hi!! I'm Eboni. A Masters Candidate in the Instructional and Technology program at Boise State. Come along and join in on my learning experiences. I look forward to having wonderful conversations from other learning professinals
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