Adaptable goals
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Allow professional learners to set their own course objectives.

Name: Adaptable course goals



Learning objectives are used as a key organiser of course content, yet they can limit professional learners who bring
different levels of knowledge and expertise, and who have a clear and precise understanding of the gaps in their knowledge
(compared with undergraduate learners).



You want to make sure professional learners are engaged in the course, but you find the learners do not need to learn all the
course objectives, so you enable the learners to set their own objectives.

Professional learners have high self-efficacy and confidence (Hood, Littlejohn & Milligan, under review). Many are able to
adapt course objectives to their own learning context. In fact professionals often enter study with specific learning goals in
mind, focused on their learning needs at work. Research has shown that highly self-regulated professionals often follow their
own goals, rather than following the objectives of the MOOC (Milligan & Littlejohn, 2014). Following self-organised goals is
recognised as motivating for highly self-regulated learners. Several studies (e.g. Chang, Tseng & Liao, 2013) highlight the
importance of goal-setting in improving motivation, increased persistence, and academic achievement.



Instead of setting rigid course objectives and content, courses can be designed flexibly to allow learners to personalise their
learning goals. In this way the course can helping learners to gain specific knowledge they need for work. Tasks could be
set encouraging learners to reflect on their personal learning needs and to set their own goals/learning objectives. Guidance
would be provided to ensure learners chose goals that are compatible with the course objectives.

CONSIDER: This approach to goal-setting is challenging for
learners who do not want to expend effort in setting their own
learning goals. However, by providing a set of outline learning
objectives, inexperienced learners towards could be scaffolded
in developing their own learning goals.



Justify the pattern by reference to data from cases where it appears to have had a positive effect. These would primarily be derived from the design experiment at hand and supplemented by external documented cases.


Data and References

This pattern links with [REFLECT ON BOTH THEORY AND


This pattern was originally published in:
Littlejohn, A. and Milligan, C. (2015). Employers are becoming aware of the potential of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as a significant form of learning for work. eLearning Papers 42. Retrived from



Author(s): Yishay Mor, Steven Warburton
Published at: 18 Mar 2019 14:08 GMT
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