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Fiona Pollock

Zostera Ltd

Learning Consultant & Coach

Read more from Fiona Pollock

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4 reasons to write learning objectives


A friend called me up a few months ago and told me they were doing a bike ride for charity. I was understandably impressed. "What's your route?" I asked. "Oh, we're going to start in Scotland and finish in Spain, but we're not sure what ground we'll cover in between times". **

How ridiculous I hear you cry! How on earth will they get sponsorship for their ride if they can't impress people with the length or complexity of the route? If they don't know their route, how will they know when they have actually achieved what they set out to do? How will they know what supplies to take along the way to ensure they have all the right equipment, but not any excess which will weigh them down?

And you're right of course. It would be daft to undertake such a task without proper planning and preparation. Without clear objectives or goals. And yet, all too often we develop training (all forms) based on an needs analysis alone. A gap has been identified and there is a vague idea of the overarching skills required to fill the gap, yet no learning objectives are set out. But by failing to develop learning objectives, aren't we setting our learners (much like my cycling friend) up to be less successful on their journey?

Learning objectives are a key part of our kitbag. One of our most useful tools which:

  1. Help people identify whether a piece of learning is for them
  2. Helps us more easily develop and design the learning material to ensure it leads to a behaviour change
  3. Makes the evaluation and (dare I say it) assessment processes more straightforward as the foundation is already in place
  4. switches the focus of any learning from the content to the learner

So surely, we'd be daft not to write learning objectives for any of our learning sessions...

Do you think there are any situations where we could skip this element of the training cycle and still arrive at just as effective an outcome?

** Just in case you wondered, this is a fictional story made up for the purpose of this post. If any of my friends read this, I don't want them wondering who on earth I'm talking about!! :)

Image courtesy of: bplanet/

Author Profile Picture
Fiona Pollock

Learning Consultant & Coach

Read more from Fiona Pollock

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