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Residents as Teachers Toolkit: Curriculum Development

The Medical Education Office at Baystate Medical Center has compiled this guide for residents seeking development as teachers, learners, and critical thinkers, and for the program directors who want to assist them in that process.

Bloom's Taxonomy





Bloom's taxonomy was developed to provide a common language for educators to discuss and exchange learning and assessment methods.  Specific learning objectives can be derived from the taxonomy, though it is most commonly used to assess learning on a variety of cognitive levels. 

The goal of an educator using Bloom's taxonomy is to encourage higher-order thought in their students by building up from lower-level cognitive skills.  Behavioral and cognitive learning objectives are given to highlight how Bloom's taxonomy can be incorporated into larger-scale educational goals or guidelines. 

Developing Goals & Objectives

Establishing goals and objectives for learning is an important part of designing curricula. Objectives should be linked to course goals, instructional strategies, and assessment methods. Learning objectives should be brief statements of observable and measurable outcomes. They should be specific and clear and address a single skill or content area. Addressing these criteria will improve assessment of student learning.

Three Components of a Learning Objective

A learning objective typically has three components:  the timeframe for learning the skill or content, an action verb, and a single content area.

  • Timeframe for learning the skill or content:  The statements are learner-centered and usually begin with a phrase that describes the timeline for learning the skill or content, such as “At the conclusion of this course the learner will…”
  • Action verb:  The action verb, should clearly illustrate what the learner will be able to do after learning the content or skill. For example, “At the conclusion of this course, the learner will be able to differentiate between…” Avoid vague verbs such as “know” or “comprehend.” Objectives developed around these verbs will be difficult to assess.
  • Content area or skill:  The skill should be linked to the design, purpose, and content of the course.

Designing Medical Education Curriculum

Resources for Designing Curriculum

Subject Guide

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