In instructional design, goal statements (sometimes called purpose statements) are commonly defined in the context of the Affective Domain. They answer the question “Why does the student need to learn this material?”
Goal statements should reflect the instructional designer’s empathy for the learner’s motivation and attitudes, as well as the subject or topic being learned. This has the benefit of enhancing the likelihood of achieving the outcome of a learning intervention (see Table 1).
Levels of the Affective Domain
|Receiving||Being aware of or attending to something in the environment.||The person would listen to a lecture or presentation about a structural model related to human behavior.|
|Responding||Showing some new behaviors as a result of experience. To act or comply; to perform an act willingly and to obtain satisfaction from it.||The individual would answer questions about the model or might rewrite lecture notes the next day.|
|Valuing||Showing some definite involvement or commitment. To accept, prefer or commit oneself because of its perceived worth or value; to appreciate; defend; judge; praise; volunteer||The individual might begin to think how education may be modified to take advantage of some of the concepts presented in the model and perhaps generate a set of lessons using some of the concepts presented|
|Organization||Integrating a new value into one’s general set of values, giving it some ranking among one’s general priorities. To compare, relate and synthesize values into one’s own value system; question; dispute.||This is the level at which a person would begin to make long-range commitments to arranging his or her instruction and assessment relative to the model|
|Characterization by Value||Acting consistently with the new value. To integrate values or value systems into one’s style or philosophy of life.||At this highest level, a person would be firmly committed to utilizing the model to develop, select, or arrange instruction and would become known for that action.|
Table 1 Levels off the Affective Domain
Using behavioral terms, samples of performances are constructed in alignment with the domains in the Affective Taxonomy. This provides evidence that a student has achieved the goal described in the purpose statement.
Example: Goal Statements with Affective Objective
“Upon completion of tasks in the auto repair shop, replenish supplies to maintain the stock levels specified in the shop stock handbook.”
Amended to include an affective goal:
“Upon completion of tasks in the auto repair shop, replenish supplies to maintain the stock levels specified in the shop stock handbook without supervision”.
If learners meet this objective “without supervision,” they must now be competent to complete the task on their own. When learners meet such an objective, they are functioning at the Responding level of attitude, and laying the foundations for task performance at higher levels.
Other goal statements include:
- Voluntarily takes action to…
- Without being told to do…
- With no promise of reward…
- Without threat of punishment…
- In spite of social pressure to do otherwise…
- Initiates on his or her own…
Notice the last three of these phrases. If learners undertake an activity in their own time, initiate something on their own, or do something in spite of social pressure to do otherwise, they are displaying behavior at the
Valuing level of the taxonomy (and perhaps higher).
Short courses and brief exposure to material can be expected to change attitudes only in small ways, and only at the lower affective levels (receiving, responding, and – possibly – valuing).
Changes at the higher affective levels (valuing, organization, and characterization) require much longer exposures. Typically an entire course rather than a lesson, a program of instruction, or a series of spaced learning interventions is required. Similarly, we can’t be sure a particular attitude or performance truly characterizes a person’s competence if the only measure or index used is a formative or summative assessment. As these objectives are more difficult to evaluate and measure, typically Kirkpatrick Level Three or Level Four can provide an appropriate indication of competence.
Krathwohl, D.R., Bloom, B.S., and Masia, B.B. (1964). Taxonomy of educational objectives: Handbook II: Affective domain. New York: David McKay Co.
Miller, M. (2005). Teaching and Learning in Affective Domain. In: M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. [Internet] Available from http://epltt.coe.uga.edu/index.php?title=Teaching_and_Learning_in_Affective_Domain Accessed 20th May 2017,
Seels, B. and Glasgow, Z. (1990). Exercises in instructional design. Columbus, Ohio: Merrill Publishing Company.