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Darryl L. Sink and Associates, Inc. (DSA) helps organizations design and develop learning and performance solutions that get results. DSA works cooperatively with organizations to:

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The inspiration for this tip comes from the description of one of the presentations to be made at our Learning and Performance Conference in June by our good friend and associate Peter Honebein, Ph.D. The session is titled: Activating Emotions in Learning Experiences to Sell New Ideas.

This tip has to do with where to start when you want to affect attitude… which is most of the time.

Well how about starting the same place we usually start… with our objectives. In this case we are talking about an affective objective.

How do we create an objective around attitude?

I usually start with a quick review of the levels of the Affective Learning Domain first specified by David R. Krathwohl*. Most of you are familiar with the six levels of the affective domain.

The level we probably want to shoot for in most training programs is called the valuing level in Krathwohl’s taxonomy of the affective domain above. It has to do with helping the learner reach the decision that they will give the "new thing" a try… voluntarily that is. So what would a learning objective look like at the valuing level?

Here is the context for the objective:

The course is titled Marketing Research Techniques. Six different marketing research techniques were taught and case studies were provided on each technique. The audience will be doing marketing research.

Here is the affective objective written at the valuing level:

Given an opportunity to use new marketing analysis techniques, voluntarily uses the new techniques in all appropriate situations.

Notice the condition in the objective is “voluntarily”. This is almost always the condition in an affective objective. Also notice there is an action verb and a standard.

Instructionally then, we have to find meaningful ways to help the learner first become aware and then interact with the “new” if we are to have any expectation that they will be able to help the learner move to the valuing level and be willing to give the “new” a try. At the valuing level, then, the more the learner can give the “new” a try – the better. This also allows them to decide for themselves.

Note: I don’t usually write an affective objective for every module in a learning program but rather one or two for the whole program.

I hope you will try including an affective objective for your next instructional program. Next time I will give some tips on evaluating affective objectives.

* Adapted from David R Krathwhol, et al. Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Book II - Affective Domain. New York: David McKay Company.

See you next time,