Instructions for Writing Learning Objectives and Content

  • The learning objectives will appear in the meeting materials EXACTLY as they are entered on the Program Information Form. Please type carefully, and:
    • End each objective with a period.
    • Use upper and lower case appropriately.
    • Do not abbreviate or use unusual characters.
  • A learning objective (1) is very brief and (2) states the purpose of the presentation in terms of enabling the attendee to do something that can be measured. Therefore the objective should begin with a verb, followed by a short description of what specific task an attendee could expect to perform after participating in the session.
  • Begin each objective with one of the following measurable verbsDescribe, Explain, Identify, Discuss, Compare, Define, Differentiate, List.
  • Make a separate objective for each action. Example: Define sleep deprivation and the consequences. These are two separate actions and should be split into two objectives as follows: 1. Define sleep deprivation, 2. List the consequences of sleep deprivation.
  • A 60-90 minute session should contain no more than 2-3 learning objectives.
  • Learning objectives define the expected outcome for the learner within the classroom environment.
  • Learning objectives must be measurable within the time allotted to the classroom setting.
  • Speakers must cover all learning objectives and content submitted on the Program Information Form.
  • The program content must be presented in the time allotted for the session. Likewise, it is expected that speakers use the full amount of time allotted for their session with lecture, discussion, or question and answer time.
  • When preparing the program content, speakers should ensure that they have addressed all issues of diversity as applicable to their session.

How Learning Objectives Will Be Used

The national professional organizations that grant ACHA continuing education accreditation require that each continuing education offering be evaluated by those in attendance. Each person who attends your session and requests continuing education credit will be asked to rate your presentation as to the extent the learning objective(s) were achieved.


Content can be described as the information that will be presented to meet each learning objective. Example:

Objective: Define sleep deprivation. 
Content: degrees of sleep, quantity of sleep, quality of sleep, circadian factors

Quality of Content

Content must:

  • Be in the form of a brief list, separated by commas
  • Be congruent with purpose and objectives
  • Include details beyond a restatement of objectives
  • Reflect the intent of the objectives
  • Be evidence-based or based on the best available evidence

On the Program Submission Form, you will be asked to provide specific sources for your content. Please provide complete information for these sources so that program planners can easily access the information. Examples:



CDC Info on Diabetes

Seaquist, E.R., Addressing the Burden of Diabetes, 
, Vol. 311, No. 2:62267-2268.

JAMA article on Diabetes

CDC 2010 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Guidelines

New STI Guidelines

University of Michigan Sleep Disorder Center,

Research from Michigan on Sleep Disorders

Learning Methods

As you are developing your learning objectives, keep in mind that studies have shown that adults learn:

  • By solving genuine problems (reviewing their own issues and daily encounters)
  • By reflecting via analogy and comparison (comparing their own experiences or by comparing their experiences to the experiences of others)
  • By practicing and applying new knowledge and strategies (time to practice, interact and discuss new application/strategy/knowledge)
  • By developing a framework for application (creating plans for implementing change).

Please allow adequate time at the end of your presentation for a Question & Answer period. This allows participants to follow-up on key points from your presentation and also allows you to assess the extent to which your session’s learning objectives were achieved.

(Revised June 2015)