Gerlach and Ely
Teaching and Media: A Systematic Approach

Specification of Content and Objectives

Specification of Content and Objectives
Define objectives (reason for teaching content) then content (medium to achieve objective).

Objectives should include conditions under which behavior should occur and criterion level for acceptable performance.

Must be stated propositionally (i.e. Can be verified to be true or untrue.)

A good objective exhibits four distinguishing characteristics:
  • It describes something which the learner does or produces.
    Who is the subject (implied or listed) in the objective?
    -- Answer must be: the learner.
  • It states a behavior or a product of the learner's behavior.
    Is it an observable or a measurable product?
    -- Answer must be: yes.
  • It states the conditions under which the behavior is to occur.
    Could you describe the circumstances? (Time, materials, etc.)
    -- Answer must be: yes.
  • It states the standard which defines whether or not the objective has been attained.
    (Nothing listed presumes 100%)
    Often the language of objectives doesn't literally meet all of the standards which allows for teacher discretion. "Creative deviance."


    Gerlach, Vernon S. & Donald P. Ely. Teaching & Media: A Systematic Approach. Second edition. (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1980)
    Flow chart from Sherri Braxton's site on Instructional Design Models based upon the charts provided in "Teaching & Media."