Writing Proper Training Objectives
Why is it important to write good training program objectives?
Objectives give the first glimpse of your program content. Clear, concise objectives give specific focus on the desired outcomes and determine what the training participants need to know and do in order to meet those objectives and what they are expected to learn plus giving them a sense of direction at the start of the training. After assessing training needs, Objectives are the first steps and the basis of the design and development of any training program.
What are training objectives?
Training objectives are concise action oriented statements that describe training outcomes, they are the destination that your training program design should lead to.
The emphasis of a training objective should not be on what you want to cover but on what you want participants to understand, do or do differently with the skills, models and information presented throughout the training program.
Objectives are the benchmarks used to measure success of a training program as they accurately describe what participants should be able to do at the end of the training.
Based on training needs assessment, training objectives sell the program to stakeholders. People managers can understand exactly what your training program will do for their employees. Objectives help managers understand what the training will and will not do.
Types of training objectives:
Objectives fall into three areas of development called the ASK model – Attitude, Skills, knowledge
These objectives are appropriate when you want to change people’s attitudes, values or feelings or increase their awareness of or sensitivity to certain issues or ideas.
A skill objective focuses on a person being able to perform a task or a specific procedure up to a successful level or not.
Knowledge objectives relate to the ability of demonstrating acquired knowledge, to comprehend information, and to analyse concepts. It has to do with the comprehension of content or cognitive learning
Good training objectives should be:
Action statements that outline specific activities and its impact on performance
Objective and measurable, describing exactly what participants will be able to do by the end of the training
Focused only on important areas related to the job.
Measurable with both qualitative and quantitative criteria
Specific and clearly outline what the participants will be able to do rather than describing training content
Written in terms of performance and outline exactly how performance will be improved
Components of a good training objective:
Writing good objectives is not as easy or straightforward as it may seem. A good training objective should tackle three main components: performance, condition and criteria and written from the participant’s point of view and at the same time as a performance outcome.
“Using open-ended questions to identify the customer’s needs (condition), the participant will suggest (performance) at least two additional products or services to every customer (criterion).”
The performance component:
It may not always be possible but ideally the objective should describe observable behaviour, that is, what the participant will be able to do differently as a result of the training. If the objective is not observable, specify the consequences of the learned behaviour that can be accepted as evidence of improvement or positive change. For example in a team building training initiative, an objective might be that “Participants will explore their feelings about working within a team.” Or for a sales training the objective can be “Participants will be able to upsell each customer and suggest additional items”
The condition component:
The objective describes the settings and circumstances under which the person will be performing the required tasks or activities. It also describes the tools and job aids that may be needed on the job. For example “Participants will use closed-ended questions with talkative callers to have better control over calls and reduce average call handling time”
The criteria component:
Finally, the objective specifies the standard or the level of proficiency needed to perform the task or job successfully. It should indicate the quality, speed, accuracy, productivity level or any performance standards required to achieve the objective which is usually determined by subject matter experts, line managers or direct supervisors.
Using product mock-ups (condition), sales representatives will answer (performance) all customer questions about the standard products (criteria)
Agents will answer calls (performance) within the standard service level of 20 seconds (criteria) using the standard greeting (condition)
Sales managers will write down a complete (performance) sales plan and forecast (criteria) for the following quarter based on the steps introduced in the training workshop (condition)