ABCD Learning Objectives Model

Outlining Learning Essentials

Use the ABCD Learning Objectives Model to write an effective learning objective.

© iStockphoto/jasantiso

Have you ever been asked to teach a class, or develop a training program?

If so, how do you know where to start? How should you structure your class? How can you make sure that your training program is suitable for your audience? And, how do you ensure that your students finish with the right knowledge and skills?

This is where the ABCD Learning Objectives Model is useful. This model outlines four things that you need to think about to create a thorough and complete learning objective; and this learning objective lays the foundations of a successful training session or learning experience.


Robert Heinich, along with his colleagues Michael Molenda, James D. Russell, and Sharon E. Smaldino, developed the ABCD Learning Objectives Model and published it in their 2001 textbook, "Instructional Technology and Media for Learning."

It outlines four elements that help you ensure that instruction has both a clear objective and a clearly defined desired outcome.

The four elements are:

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