How to Develop Training Objectives for Your Business
Impactful training is about you and your learners knowing what is to be achieved through learning. But, how do you build training programs that make this clear and relevant? The answer: by setting training objectives. Used as a way to add structure and focus when creating programs and for learners while training, training objectives are a simple way to ensure you’re on the right track. Let’s explain what training objectives are and how you can develop them for your training programs.
What are training objectives?
Training or learning objectives are the intended measurable outcome that your learners will achieve once they’ve finished a course. They should detail the information that will be acquired and what learners will be able to accomplish through learning this information. Importantly, training objectives should be concise, focused statements that break down what each course will accomplish and how they will help reach the business’s overall end goal of training.
Why create training objectives?
So, why are training objectives something you should be doing? In actuality, they are incredibly helpful for both you and your learners. Here are some of the key benefits:
1. More clarity for learners
The most basic advantage of learning objectives is that they enable you to clearly explain to your learner what the purpose of their training is. Learners take their course and are aware of the information and skills that they should be gaining.
2. Creates a clear path to reaching your business’s overall learning goal
With each course having a learning objective, you can see whether a course that’s been created actually meets that objective and whether it fits in with your overall training goal. If it doesn’t, you can then edit and adapt your training to ensure it helps to reach your target.
3. Helps build more focused courses
When creating your training courses, having an objective in mind helps you to tailor the content towards reaching it. You can hone in on building a course that only contains the information needed to reach the objective and give your learner the best chance of success.
4. Saves on resources
Often avoided as it’s seen as a time-consuming task, in reality, establishing training objectives from the offset saves your training project time, money, and resources. Objectives help you focus on the most important content you need to create, enable you to create it quickly, and ensure you don’t make costly mistakes by having to re-create course content.
How to develop learning objectives with Bloom’s taxonomy
There are a few methods that businesses can use to develop training objectives, but the most famous and one of our favorites is Bloom’s taxonomy. Bloom’s taxonomy simply enables you to create and set different objectives that are measurable for your learners. The taxonomy consists of 6 objectives that are knowledge-based. Each of these is also paired with action verbs that help you describe the activity that should be taking place.
This is about recognizing and remembering specific facts and statements from the material being learned. Knowledge is seen as the least substantial level in the taxonomy. Although important, regurgitating facts doesn’t necessarily guarantee your learners understand what they’re learning. For this stage, common action verbs would be: arrange, match, identify, memorize, select, and name. For certain courses, the knowledge stage works well. An example of this is with compliance training, recalling facts and steps is particularly important. Therefore, creating a course with a multi-choice or true or false quiz shows that facts have been learned.
While knowledge is just about remembering facts, comprehension goes a step further and asks learners to demonstrate an understanding of the information being presented to them. Action words here are: describe, explain, summarize, discuss, illustrate, and identify. For corporate training, this could be done by requesting long-form answers to questions where the learner describes what they’ve learned.
With knowledge and comprehension, your learners then need to be able to demonstrate how what they have learned is actually applicable to life. This is a key step. In the past, we’ve shared that adults are problem solvers and to learn at their best, they need to understand how they can use what they’ve learned in their roles. Action words for application are: use, apply, demonstrate, solve, employ, and perform. Again, asking after completing a course how the information being provided could be used by a learner is critical here.
In order to gain a deeper understanding, your learner needs to be able to break down each part of the learning and understand how they work together and the overall structure. It also involves establishing evidence to prove the information works. Here, action words that can be used are: analyze, compare, contrast, discover, and model. With corporate training, this can be done by asking your learners to list how their training can help, then request them to analyze and provide examples to back up their claims.
At this point, the learner should critique and judge what they’ve learned. The should be able to question the validity of what they have learned, its relevance to them and what it’s attempting to achieve. Action words could be: Judge, critique, argue, assess, score, and evaluate. For corporate training, you can do this by having interactions with the instructor and encouraging feedback. Or through an LMS forum, where learners can critique between themselves the relevance of the information.
The final stage, creating, suggests learners put all the elements they’ve learned together as a whole. This should lead to them creating “a product, plan or proposal that is new to them.” The actions words here can be: create, design, construct, invent and develop. For your training, you can request your learners to assess a process that’s already in place and ask how they can design a new process or plan with the information they have learned.
Tips for establishing training objectives
If you’re a little overwhelmed with the idea of forming learning objectives of your own, just remember to keep them to the point. Training objectives should be short, concise, and easily understood. That way you and your learners know the exact outcome that should arise from completing a course. If not, then something is going wrong and you’ll need to reassess what the core objective for your training is. Once you’ve got your action verb and a short objective, you should be easily able to measure your training and assess if it’s meeting your overall training goals.
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