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Maybe you’ve built a course, or maybe you’re considering offering one. Recently, you started talking to students to encourage signups, but students aren’t sure if the course is for them. So now you’re looking for a way to show them what they can get out of the course.

Introducing, training objectives! 

Setting these ideal outcomes for your course can help a student see if it’s aligned with their experience and area of learning interest, and also help you both keep track of learning progress.

Jump ahead:

What are training objectives?

Training objectives (also called learning objectives) are measurable goals that the trainee should aim to achieve from the development program. Often, training objectives are short statements that reflect a specific learning outcome that can be obtained. Therefore, most programs or courses will offer a handful of training objectives that are expected to be earned by the end of the course.

Benefits of using training objectives

  1. Demonstrates the end goal

Ultimately, training objectives offer the end goals that participants in the course can hope to learn. When a student is measuring if a course is a great fit for them, they likely already have an understanding of what they already know vs. what they are still hoping to learn. Including training objectives on course outlines will help ensure that the right students participate in the course. 

  1. Enables you to track progress

Training objectives are often very concise, specific, and measurable. Being able to measure if an objective has already been learned or not (and to what extent) enables a student to self-assess their success in the course. For educators, this is also helpful to measure areas where students may need extra support or what topics are left to be taught.

  1. Guides lesson planning

Educators can reference the training objectives of the course to determine what type of content should be taught when building course materials. It can also help teachers to prioritize topics, find deeper insights on specific knowledge areas, or organize sessions to present topics in a specific order that would improve student learning. 

Read more: How to Build a Lesson Plan

Tips for integrating objectives into your training program

  1. Use SMART goals

When setting goals for the learning material, it’s important to provide some structure so that you can accurately assess whether you are making progress on the goals or not. As well, it can help measure overall learning success or areas for improvement. SMART goals are those that are:

  • Specific. Each goal only relates to one element of the course.
  • Measurable. The goal has a quantitative metric by which to measure success or failure.
  • Achievable. The goal is able to be earned given the resources available and the current starting point.
  • Relevant. The goal actually relates to the topics or development program at hand. 
  • Time-based. There is a finite period that the goal needs to be completed in, so there is a point when you can measure success. 
  1. Set expectations early

While most educators provide the training objectives on their course outlines, many students may overlook them. Be sure to spend some time in the early part of your training program explaining the expected learning outcomes to students. In doing so, you can also discuss any SMART goals that you have set for students in the course, and any other measures of their success. Setting this expectation early ensures that both you and your students are on the same page about what is to come from participation in the development program.

  1. Use a digital tracking tool

Utilizing a digital tracking tool, such as Thinkific’s online course platform, allows you to easily monitor and track student progress automatically. Through quizzes, video progress, and more, you can quickly see if students are meeting their learning objectives and actually understanding the course material. Having this information instantly available ensures that you can keep up to date with students’ learning progress and be able to connect with students right away if you see someone falling behind on their training objectives. 

  1. Create individual and team objectives

While many projects assess an individual’s learning objectives, there are also many times when it is important to consider the learning goals of the wider team. Group projects and cooperative learning strategies both enforce team learning, so they should also come with learning objectives that are specific to the team activities. 

  1. Continuously adapt the objectives

As students continue to learn, you may find that they take on some subjects better than others. This may mean a need to adjust training objectives to better suit the learning progress of your class (which aligns with the “achievable” part of SMART goals). Whether you choose to break up a difficult learning objective into smaller, more feasible components or you choose to add a more difficult, “stretch” objective, continuously measuring and adapting to suit your class’ capabilities will ensure they get the best learning experience.

Related: How To Craft Magnetic & Compelling Learning Outcomes

6 types of training objectives

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a pyramid model that demonstrates 6 types of training objectives, each based on action verbs. For educators or employers that are just starting out with building training programs, you can use this taxonomy as a guide for identifying key learning goals. 

  1. Remembering: Being able to “remember” is at the bottom of the pyramid, as it is the first step in learning a topic. It means just being able to recall facts and basic concepts as a starting point on a new topic.
  2. Understanding: At this level, students should be able to explain the learned idea or concept in their own words. Doing so shows that they know more than just the definition of the topic, but also other ways that it could be described.
  3. Applying: Here, students should be able to take the concepts that they understand and put it to practical use. This may be taking a theoretical idea and applying it in real-life, or doing another theory-based exercise where they’d have to use the information in new theoretical settings. 
  4. Analyzing: Now students should be able to assess elements of the topic within itself. They can connect themes within the concept, differentiate, organize, compare, or question elements of the topic.
  5. Evaluating: Second from the top, this level measures whether a student can justify a decision. Opinion papers, appraisals, critiques, and debates can demonstrate a student’s ability to evaluate one option across many others.
  6. Creating: At the top of the pyramid, being able to “create” demonstrates that students have a deep and solid understanding of the topic to be able to produce new or original work.

15 examples of learning outcomes

For elementary learners

  1. Identify, name, and locate each capital city across each province of Canada on an unlabelled map
  2. Master independent multiplication and division skills without the use of a calculator
  3. Write full sentences using correct grammar and punctuation
  4. Practice working in a team environment to improve social communication and negotiation skills
  5. Throw a ball back and forth 20 times with a partner to showcase coordination and communication abilities

For high school learners

  1. Perform detailed peer editing including the ability to review opinion papers and provide constructive feedback
  2. Develop general analytical skills in structuring and analyzing financial risk and returns
  3. Practice strategic thinking and the development of skills to support strategic decision-making
  4. Develop business-writing skills, including the writing of executive summaries
  5. Understand the foundations of micro- and macro economics for applications in further studies

For learners at the college-level and above

  1. Critique and present appraisals for figurative, abstract, geometric, and portraiture art styles
  2. Evaluate concepts of gender and identity with regards to historical politics in North America
  3. Conduct independent primary research on international law theories and practice
  4. Ideate solutions to business management cases and present findings to a panel
  5. Communicate change management plans across an international organization

Parting Advice

Identifying what you want to use as a measure of your training can feel overwhelming. Especially when you are creating a course from scratch, it may feel like you have limitless options for training objectives to select from.

To ensure that your students get the most out of your course or training program, consider selecting training objectives that are very specific and focus on the most important topics related to your course. If you find that there are a lot of learning outcomes that you would like to provide for your students, consider breaking up the topics into smaller, more focused courses. This also enables your students to get a deeper understanding on these topics without feeling overwhelmed to meet too many learning requirements at once.  

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