The Know/Do/Believe Triangle & Learning Objectives

In the world of educational design and personal development, the Know/Do/Believe Triangle is a framework that offers insight into how knowledge, action, and beliefs interconnect to facilitate learning and growth. This conceptual model fits perfectly with the formulation of learning objectives, which serve as the backbone of any structured learning experience.

At one corner of the triangle is “Know,” which stands for knowledge. This is the factual or theoretical understanding that a person acquires through learning. In the context of setting learning objectives, this area often addresses the question, “What should the learner know by the end of this experience?” For educators and instructional designers, ensuring students have a clear grasp of specific information is critical. It’s not just about memorizing facts; it’s about comprehending concepts and theories that can later inform decisions and actions.

The second corner represents “Do,” linked to skills and abilities. This piece of the triangle emphasizes what learners should be able to perform or demonstrate following an educational period or training session. From practical hands-on skills to intellectual competencies like critical thinking and analysis, defining what learners need to do pushes them beyond passive absorption of information to active engagement with their new knowledge.

Lastly, we have “Believe,” which relates to attitudes and values. Education isn’t just about knowing facts or performing tasks; it’s also about developing a set of beliefs or attitudes towards these facts and actions. Learning objectives in this domain might include fostering appreciation for certain subjects or cultivating ethical perspectives on societal issues.

To create meaningful learning experiences, objectives are crafted integrating these three elements. For instance, in a sustainability course, a learning objective might be:

– Know: Understand the causes and impacts of climate change (Knowledge).

– Do: Perform an energy audit of a household to identify energy-saving opportunities (Skills).

– Believe: Develop a belief in sustainable living practices and become motivated to implement environmentally friendly habits (Attitudes).

In essence, the Know/Do/Believe Triangle is not only about what learners take away cognitively but also about empowering them with skills and shaping their attitudes towards those skills and knowledge areas. By aligning with this triangle when formulating learning objectives, educators and trainers set up a holistic learning pathway that equips learners with everything they need to succeed in their fields—intellectually, practically, and ethically.