The Ultimate Internship Handbook: Unleashing the Power of Learning Objectives and Backwards Design

Cuong Duy Nguyen

Cuong Duy Nguyen

Jul 08, 20233 min read


The Ultimate Internship Handbook: Unleashing the Power of Learning Objectives and Backwards Design


Internships have become a pivotal part of career development, offering valuable hands-on experiences and a gateway to professional growth. To make the most of your internship, it's essential to set clear learning objectives and outcomes. In this article, we will explore how Bloom's taxonomy can assist in classifying these objectives and outcomes effectively. Additionally, we will delve into the concept of backwards design, a powerful approach that ensures internships are designed with desirable learning outcomes in mind.

Understanding Bloom's Taxonomy:

Bloom's taxonomy is a hierarchical framework that categorizes different levels of cognitive skills required for learning. It helps instructional designers and educators create meaningful learning experiences by setting clear learning objectives. The taxonomy consists of six levels: Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating, and Creating. By choosing the appropriate verb from the corresponding domain, internship programs can align their objectives with specific cognitive skills.

Backwards Design: A Benchmark for Internship Success:

To ensure internships yield desirable learning outcomes, a co-design approach involving students is crucial. The idea of backwards design becomes invaluable here. With backwards design, internship programs start by identifying the desired learning outcomes and then work backwards to design experiences that lead to those outcomes. This approach ensures that internships are purposeful and aligned with the objectives identified by both educators and students.

Using the Roundtable Discussion Method:

One effective method to co-design internship experiences is through roundtable discussions. This method brings together educators, professionals, and students to exchange ideas, perspectives, and insights. By involving all stakeholders in the design process, internships can be tailored to meet the needs and expectations of both educators and students. Roundtable discussions allow for open dialogue, fostering collaboration and innovation in the design of internship programs.

Incorporating Context and Performance Standards:

To make learning objectives more meaningful, it is crucial to add conditions or criteria that specify the context or standard of performance expected from interns. This can be achieved by incorporating real-world scenarios or industry-specific challenges into the internship program. By setting clear expectations, interns can see the relevance of their work and strive to meet the standards set by the industry.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Define Clear Learning Objectives: Before starting an internship, clearly define your learning objectives. Use Bloom's taxonomy as a guide to choose the appropriate cognitive skills you aim to develop during your internship. This clarity will help you stay focused and make the most of your experience.
  • 2. Engage in Co-Design: If given the opportunity, participate in roundtable discussions or similar co-design initiatives. Your insights and perspectives as an intern are invaluable for shaping meaningful and impactful internship experiences. Take an active role in contributing to the design process.
  • 3. Embrace Real-World Challenges: Seek internships that incorporate real-world scenarios or industry-specific challenges. By working on projects that mirror the actual demands of the industry, you will gain practical skills and experience that will significantly enhance your professional growth.


Internships hold immense potential for personal and professional development, and by leveraging the power of learning objectives and backwards design, you can make the most of this transformative experience. By aligning your goals with Bloom's taxonomy, engaging in co-design initiatives, and embracing real-world challenges, you can ensure that your internship is a catalyst for your future success. So go forth, armed with this ultimate internship handbook, and unlock the full potential of your internship journey.

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