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Aligning Objectives, Content and Assessments for Training Programs

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Suppose you are assigned to conduct a training program on sales process for your telesales representatives. You need to develop content for the course and at the end of the course you would also like to assess if the training was successful. Where do you start?

The first element that you need to identify is the objective of training. What do you want to achieve with the training program? This invariably, is linked to a business goal, which should be identified first. In this hypothetical situation, the goal of the training program is to increase the knowledge of telesales executives, about the sales process. When they understand the sales process and provide satisfactory customer assistance, they will naturally, contribute towards growth in sales resulting in achieving the business goal.

Learning objectives are clear and precise statements that define what participants are expected to do, or understand, at the end of the training event.

It is important to define learning objectives, as it helps those who are designing the training program. They will be able to identify and use relevant content, that will give the expected outcome. Content can be in the form of instructional components, such as PPT slides, manuals, eLearning modules or online resources. Instructional elements can be in any format – text, audio, video, graphics and so on. Based on the learning objectives you want to achieve and the profile of the participants, you need to choose a combination of these elements that best addresses the learning need.

The choice of content or instructional components will need to be closely aligned with the learning objectives of the training program.

Similarly, when assessments are being designed for training programs, tests evaluate the extent, to which learning has been accomplished. When learning objectives are not clear, tests may provide irrelevant or uninformative results, which serve no purpose. In a worst case situation, they could even be misleading.

For assessments to provide accurate information about the extent to which the training objective has been achieved, you need to align them to the learning objectives.

Often training programs or eLearning programs are designed without defined learning objectives. Having clarity about learning objectives will ensure that the instructional elements or content, along with the assessments, are in line with the training goal. This alignment increases the probability of providing participants with knowledge or skills, which have relevance to their job and performance.

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