INTER-RELATIONSHIP AMONG AIMS, GOALS AND OBJECTIVES IN EDUCATION
Aims, goals and objectives are expressions of the values of instruction, more specific directions of the curriculum, and specific behavioral outcomes of instruction respectively. Complete understanding of the outcomes of instruction is facilitated by statements of the “aims,” “goals,” and “objectives” of the educational program. Aims, goals and objectives are statements about what we want a learner to be able to do at various levels.
Aims in Education
They are general expressions of values that provide a sense of direction. They are broadly stated outcomes which are acceptable to virtually everyone who is interested in the educational programme. They are important in communicating outcomes with which many individuals can agree. Aims are general statements that provide direction to the intent of an educational action, usually written in formless or shapeless terms using: learn, know, understand, appreciate, and are not directly measurable. They are anticipated outcomes that are intended or that guide planned action. Aims are defined as propositions which may not be easily attainable but not impossible. From this definition, it could be inferred that aims are much more general and frequently referred to philosophical issues under the context of education.
They also tend to refer to the end-product of the system. For example, the aim of technical education in Nigeria might be self-reliance in terms of technical manpower needs of the country. The realisation of this aim will never be immediate. It entails long term activities and inputs perhaps in the country’s educational system like curriculum planning and reconstruction, content selection, appropriate instruction, technical teacher training, government’s general financing of technical education until eventually the aim is attained. The attainment of such aims, of course, depends on how much that is put in and how effective the system is.
However, aims alone cannot be used to guide instructional decisions because they are too broad and general. To be useful, aims require greater specification which is presented in the form of goals and objectives.
Goals in Education
Like aims, goals provide a sense of direction, but they are more precise. Goals relate a general aim to some specific aspect of the curriculum. They are statements of educational intention which are more specific than aims. Goal is the end toward which an effort is directed. Goals indicate what a course or perhaps an institution is seeking to achieve. They are broad in outlook but not as broad as aims. Goals are derived mostly from the needs of the people e.g. the need of the people may be to produce more technologists in the country.
This may then become the goals of our schools or colleges of technologies and can be achieved by increasing the intake of people or learners offering technical courses in colleges of technology. An Educational programme goal is a general statement of what the programme hopes to accomplish. The goal is the first part of the programme’s strategic plan. Goals may encompass an entire programme, subject area or multiple grade levels. Goals connect aims to tangible aspects of the curriculum. Although goals are more specific than aims, they are always derived in ways that contribute to the realisation of the aims. High level curriculum planning committees often specify the aims which guide an educational program; teams of teachers are responsible for formulating goals which are consistent with these aims and feasible with the resources and time allocated to different parts of the educational program.
Objectives in Education
Objectives are defined as a contract shared with learners that describe what they will be able to do after learning what they could not do before. They are the clear and specific statements of what students should be able to do as a result of a course of study. Objectives are usually specific statements of educational intention which describe either general or specific outcomes. Objectives do not include the word ‘know’ or ‘understand’. They do include active verbs such as ‘state’, ‘explain’, ‘outline’, ‘list’ or ‘describe’. They are statements of what a teacher wants the learners to do.
Difference between Goals and Objectives in Education
|Generally hard to measure||Measurable|
The relationship among aims, goals and objectives could be likened into a spectrum or continuum of educational intentions with aims and objectives at the general and specific ends of the continuum respectively with goals at the midpoint.
Relevance and Differences among Aims, Goals and Objectives in Education
Aims are most relevant to overall educational planning of an educational system such as the Nigerian Educational System. Goals are most relevant to educational planning at different levels of an educational system, such as basic, secondary, tertiary education. Objectives are most relevant to school curriculum planning, implementation, daily lesson planning, and presentation and evaluation. It is important to note that effective realization of lesson and curriculum objectives will culminate in the achievement of education goals which will ultimately make the aims of education possible. The three educational intentions or objectives are accordingly complementary. However, the differences among them are shown in the table below.
Different Characteristics of Aims, Goals and Objectives in Education
|Global or very broad||Fairly Global||Highly situational and localised|
|Most Vaguely and ambiguously stated||Fairly Vague and ambiguously oriented||Most precisely and unambiguously stated|
|Most value laden and least activity oriented||Fairly value and activity oriented||Least value free and most activity oriented|
|Highly philosophical, idealistic and futuristic||Fairly idealistic and futuristic||Most realistic and almost immediately realizable|
|Very long range and long term bound||Fairly long range and long term bound||Short range and Short term bound|
Alms, goals and objectives are educational purposes, outcomes or targets at three interrelated levels. Level 1 or low level or the “Objective level” represents outcome (purpose) at its lowest, narrowest and most specific point. Level 2 or middle level or the “Goal level refers to outcome at their medium level and in their wider scope; while level 3 or High level or the “Aim level” represents outcome (purpose) at the highest level and in the widest scope. In other words, objectives are specific and narrow, goals are broad and aims are even broader. It should be noted that goals and objectives are both tools for accomplishing what you want to achieve. Goals are long term and objectives are usually accomplished in the short or medium term. Goals are nebulous and you cannot definitively say you have accomplished one whereas the success of an objective can easily be measured. Goals are hard to quantify or put in a timeline, but objectives should be given a timeline to be more effective.
At the classroom level, aims and goals assume the form of objectives which can be formulated instructionally or behaviourally.
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