This pre-instructional strategy was selected over others for the following reasons:

  1. Since this is asynchronous online training, it’s important to capture every opportunity to make the training seem more interactive. The question format of a pretest provides the illusion of participation more effectively than an overview.
  2. There are no one-size-fits-all answers for most of the questions posed in this module, so by mentally answering these open-ended questions, the learner is stimulated early to start thinking about her own experience as she goes through this module.
  3. Pre-tests work best when training time is short, allowing students to remain focused on the questions (Morrison et al., 2012, p. 163).

 Front End Analysis


A learning objective is an explicit statement of what the learner will be able to do as a result of the training. Objectives can be divided into two categories" Terminal Learning Objectives (TLO) and Enabling Learning Objectives (ELO).

TLOs must include the three elements Task-Conditions-Performance.

  1. Task: What will the learner do to demonstrate he or she learned? Stated as an action verb, it must be behavioral so it can be observed and measured in order to assess the effectiveness of the training. For instance, "The participant will know the continents" is not observable, but "the participant will list the continents" is.
  2. Condition: Under what circumstances will the learner perform the task? For instance, will he or she be allowed to have a cheat sheet?
  3. Performace: States the criteria for success or standard at which the learner must perform. For instance, "With 80% accuracy."

After defining each TLO, it should be broken down into smaller, more manageable objectives that will be properly sequenced to accomplish the TLO. Each of these chunks is called an ELO. 

Horton, W. (2011). E-Learning by Design (2nd Edition) [Texidium version]. Retrieved from

Pre-instructional Strategy

The pre-instructional strategy selected is a pre-test similar to the following:

  1. As you go through this module, think about the following questions:
  2. What are the most common fears that make women avoid difficult conversations?
  3. What fears have prevented you in the past from facing confrontations?
  4. What physical or psychological symptoms of those fears could you recognize next time you feel them?​

Sample Terminal and Enabling Objectives

At the completion of this course the learner will be able to:

TLO: Identify (verbalize) the fear(s), if any, that have prevented him/her from making behavioral change requests from others in the past, and explain how can he/she confront them (cognitive and affective domains).

  • Without a cheat-sheet, list at least 8 of the 10 most common fears that prevent people from facing difficult conversations (cognitive domain).
  • Given that he/she has avoided confrontations in the past, and given the list of 10 fears, recognize (point at) the one(s) that have stopped him/her in the past (affective domain).
  • Mention at least two reasons for her decision (cognitive). There should be a cause-effect relationship between his/her reasons and the fear.
  • List at least two physical or psychological symptoms that will allow the learner to recognize the presence of fear when thinking of facing a confrontation (affective domain). The learner’s choice will be based on his/her experience.
  • Explain accurately in his/her own words how systematic desensitization works (cognitive).
  • Describe in his/her own words at least one method he/she could use to overcome his/her fears of making requests from others (cognitive domain).

TLO: Given a list of tasks a person may engage in before a difficult conversation,  accurately identify (sort)—with an accuracy of at least 80%— whether they are useful or not useful in helping an individual effectively prepare for a difficult conversation (cognitive domain).

TLO: Given examples of behaviors a person may display during a difficult conversation,  accurately identify (sort) them—with an accuracy of at least 80%— whether they are assertive, passive, aggressive, or passive-aggressive (cognitive domain).

TLO: Given a script that uses the NO FEAR™ method, identify at least four of its five components (all enabling objectives are cognitive).

  • Identify the first component in the script: objective (O).
  • Given a statement, accurately categorize (sort) it as a solution-oriented objective or not.
  • Identify the second component in the script: facts (F).
  • Given a statement, accurately categorize (sort) it as a fact or an opinion.
  • Identify the third component in the script: effect (E).
  • Given a statement, accurately recognize (point out) whether there is or not a cause-effect relationship between the fact(s) previously stated and the statement.
  • Identify the fourth component in the script: acknowledgment (A).
  • Accurately explain in his/her own words the purpose of this component.
  • Identify the fifth component in the script: request (R).
  • Given a statement, accurately categorize it (sort) as a request that is valid (behavioral, objective, realistic, and measurable) or invalid.

 TLO: When prompted to and without any aid, recall from memory and verbalize a phrase aimed at temporarily stopping and deferring a confrontation. This exit line should be delivered with the same voice (tempo, pitch, and tone) the learner may use to ask a stranger to pass him/her the butter during a fundraising event (cognitive domain).

Sample Enabling Objectives Matrix

Module Two: Managing Fears

Terminal Objective: At the end of this module, the learner will be able to identify (verbalize) the fear(s), if any, that have prevented her from making behavioral change requests from others in the past, and explain how can she tame them should they emerge again in the future.

Difficult Conversations                                    e-learning Course

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