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Online Training with a Purpose: The Magic of Learning Objectives

The creation or development of any eLearning course begins by defining theGOAL’,i.e., keeping the end in mind. Once the goal is set, it becomes easy todefine the learning objectives, thus ensuring that the goal is accomplished.

Whenever there is a problem in employee performance, the first step is to determine whether training is the solution. Once you identify the need for training, you need to define the learning objectives. A well-defined objective is one that is successful in conveying the intent to the learners. In this post, I will talk about four reasons you need to set learning objectives for your eLearning courses.

Why Use Learning Objectives?

Creates a Clear Learning Framework

There are chances of an eLearning course failing to achieve the target if there is no clear plan. A successful course requires structured content with clear objectives. This is where learning objectives come into play. They enable you to outline content and give a clear picture of what the learner would be able to accomplish post the completion of the course.

Learning objectives are goal-directed; therefore, learners are better able to understand what is in the course for them. However, one major aspect to be considered while defining the learning objectives is that they should be specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic, and time-bound.

Setting learning objectives is a 3-step process:

  1. Create a stem
  2. Add a verb to the stem
  3. Determine the actual outcome

For instance, “After completing the course, participants will be able to identify the three key steps in applying for a passport” is an example of a well-defined learning objective.

Defines the Scope

Any learner would prefer a course that has a clear and well-defined scope. The best way to create an amazing learning experience is to define the scope of the training and clearly communicate this to the learner. And that involves defining specific skills, processes, outcomes, etc., that are expected to be accomplished by learners at the end of the course. When the scope is clearly defined, learners are more likely to take a more proactive approach to learning.

A few tips for a well-defined scope:

  1. Keep your learning objectives simple and brief to promote better understanding.
  2. Consider learners’ current knowledge and skill on the topic.
  3. Clear misconceptions of the learners, if any.
  4. Ensure that the objectives clearly communicate the intent of the course, avoiding misinterpretations.
  5. Ensure that the objectives specify the performance of the learner after completing the course.
  6. Ensure that the assessments and activities are tied to the learning objectives.

Presents the Content with a Purpose

Let’s face it, the current generation of learners are definitely not going to complete a course if it is dull and boring, unless of course, it is mandatory. Quite often, learners are faced with lifeless and dull training programs when the content is way too rigid. Learners would love to have a learning experience wherein they are so engaged and enthusiastic that they are proactively driven to explore the subject.

In order to create such a learning experience, the content has to be purposeful. The information has to be structured well, and not disorganized. When learning objectives are clearly defined, specifically and explicitly, learners are clear about what’s in store for them in the course and how they would benefit from it, and designers can ensure that only content relevant to the learning objectives is covered in the course.

When the content is presented with a clear purpose, learners can navigate through the course with ease, extracting the right kind of information. However, an important aspect that should not be overlooked is that the content should be presented in an engaging and visually appealing manner.

Armed with the right learning objectives, learning can be made meaningful. Another important aspect that should not be forgotten while defining the learning objectives is assessments.Assessments play a crucial rolein the success of an eLearning course. All the activities and assessments have to be linked to the learning objectives, so as to ensure the objectives are achieved.

Remember these three aspects:

  1. Objectives should be specific and measurable
  2. Evaluation should be based on the objectives
  3. Content and assessments should be aligned to the learning objectives

According to you, how does a defining learning objective help the learners? Do share your thoughts with us.

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