I seldom, as a student, read lists of formal objectives. They come across as stuffy, condescending, and superfluous. Of course, I am a sample size of one, so… (I’ve learned throughout my life that I tend to be pretty much the opposite of whatever the crowd happens to be, so I wouldn’t be surprised that something I don’t care for turns out to be immensely helpful and inspirational to the majority of students!)
BUT, where’s the proof? I, too, am wondering about the research. Show me objective evidence, or I shall remain unconvinced. I did go have a look at the list of research that was used to construct standard 2, which can be found here. Research search tool. (type 2 in the first box). While I didn’t read the full text of every result, what I can gather from looking at the publications and titles is that this is mostly case studies and articles about “best practices,” or “wisdom gleaned,” etc., not quantitative studies.
To prove the importance of following this standard as exactly as QM wants us to, we’d need to compare each element of the requirement with a control, and see if there are statistically significant improvements in either learning outcomes or student satisfaction attributable to that element. So we’d need to test whether measurability, level differences, and consistency actually make a difference to students. (Obviously, these things are extremely important on the instructional design side. That is a conclusion we can arrive at a priori.)