10 Reasons to Create Learning Objectives for Job Training and Performance Improvement

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We’re going to start this article assuming you know what a learning objective is. If you don’t, check out our What Is a Learning Objective? article or this free downloadable guide to writing learning objectives first.

And now that we’ve got that covered, in this article we will present some reasons why you should use learning objectives when you create training materials.

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How to Write SMART Learning Objectives

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[This is the the third in a series of posts about learning objectives. We’ve now compiled all the posts into a single downloadable guide to writing learning objectives if you want to check that out, PLUS check out our Introduction to Learning Objectives recorded discussion with learning researcher Dr. Patti Shank.]

As a kid, I loved the campy TV detective show “Get Smart.”

Now that I’m an adult and work as an instructional designer, I still like to get smart. Except now I get SMART when creating learning objective for workforce training and performance improvement.

We’ll discuss the importance of learning objectives and explain teh SMART test for learning objectives below.

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Robert Mager’s Performance-Based Learning Objectives

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You don’t have to read up on learning objectives for too long before you run into the name of Robert Mager and hear about his performance-based learning objectives. These are also sometimes called three-part learning objectives, behavioral learning objectives, or criteria-based learning objectives.

This isn’t necessarily the only way to write learning objectives. Smart people have continued to think about training and the development of learning objectives since Mager’s time, after all.

But even though there are other schools of thought about learning objectives, what Mager had to say is still solid advice in many cases.

Mager outlines his theory about the best way to create learning objectives in his classic book Preparing Instructional Objectives. You can read our review of Preparing Instructional Objectives if you’re interested, and we highly recommend reading the book, which is informative, quick, and fun. Oh, and here’s a free online version of Mager’s book for you!

Otherwise, here’s the crux of what Mager has to say, below. When you’re done with this article, you might also be interested in our recorded discussion with learning researcher & instructional designer Dr. Patti Shank on Writing Performance-Based Learning Objectives (she calls them “performance objectives” because she focuses so much on job performance).

And hey, since you may be here because you’re interested in Robert Mager’s work, and also because people interested in learning objectives may also be interested in performance analysis, don’t forget to check out our article about Robert Mager’s Performance Analysis book and flow-chart, which is one of the seminal works in the field of human performance improvement, or HPI.

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ABCD: The Four Parts of a Learning Objective

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[This is the fourth in a series of posts about learning objectives. We’ve now compiled all the posts into a single downloadable guide to writing learning objectives PLUS you can check out our Introduction to Learning Objectives recorded discussion with learning researcher Dr. Patti Shank.]

A simple way to make sure you’re building a useful learning objective is to use the ABCD method. Each letter in ABCD stands for a different part of your learning objective. These different parts answer four questions about your objective: who, what, how, and how well.

We’ll spell it all out for you below. Then you can use this information to create better learning activities as part of your workforce training program (or similar learning program).

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Microlearning: 3 Uses

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In a recent recorded discussion, we talked with Michael Schreiner, the VP of Content at Vector Solutions (our parent company) about their recent, award-winning microlearning conversion & creation process. If you’re interested in that, check out our Microlearning at Vector Solutions recorded discussion.

In this article, we’re going to expand on that discussion, explaining what microlearning is and giving a few common and effective uses for microlearning.

Contact us if you have any questions, share your own thoughts, suggestions, and experiences in the comments section below, and have a great day!

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Microlearning at Vector Solutions

Not that long ago, our parent company Vector Solutions undertook a large project to convert some existing courses into microlearning courses that their RedVector customers could use. Very cool.

Even cooler, that microlearning project won a prestigious Award for Excellence in Learning award from Brandon-Hall. Which we’re proud of–congrats to all involved.

In this interview, Vector Solutions Vice President of Content Michael Schreiner will talk with Jeff Dalto of Convergence Training & Vector Solutions about microlearning, what it is, why there’s so much talk about it these days, why it’s useful in training, some common uses of it, about the conversion project itself, and most importantly about how Vector Solutions/RedVector customers can access these microlearning courses.

If you’re a Vector Solutions customer and want to use these microlearning courses, begin by getting our RedVector Go app.

Enjoy and let us know if you have any questions!

 

Here are some resources related to topics Michael brought up in this conversation:

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An Introduction to Learning Objectives with Dr. Patti Shank

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In this discussion, we take a deep-dive into learning objectives with learning researcher and instructional designer Dr. Patti Shank.

In particular, we explain what a learning objective is; why you should create learning objectives; how to create learning objectives; how learning objectives should be mapped to learning assessments and learning activities; and a few other juicy topics as well.

This is the first of two related discussions with Dr. Shank. Be sure to check out our discussion regarding Learning Assessments as well, and the concepts of learning objectives and learning assessments are very closely related to one another. We’ve also had a previous discussion with Patti titled Deliberate Practice, Deep Learning, and Desirable Difficulties you may find helpful.

Thanks to Patti for sharing her time and knowledge and for all the great learning research she does!

Here are some additional, related articles you may be interested in:

Finally, feel free to download our free guide to learning objectives below, which very closely matches Dr. Shank’s recommendations in this interview.

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How to Write Learning Objectives

Get this free guide to learn all you need to know to write learning objectives, create better training, and help improve workplace performance.

Download Free Guide

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8 Ways a Learning Management System (LMS) Serves as a Risk Management Tool

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Risk management is an important tool in many different fields: finance, safety, and more.

Risk management is also central to your workplace learning and development efforts, even if you don’t think of workforce learning in that way. But stop and think of all the different risks you’d face if it wasn’t for your workforce learning programs. You might not be able to recruit as many good new employees without one and you might not keep the ones you do recruit as long. New employees would struggle to understand their jobs and it would be harder to teach them new job roles and skills in their career path. You might quickly run afoul of compliance challenges, and without an emphasis on learning, your company might drift into inefficiency, irrelevance, and ultimately out of existence.

One tool your learning program can use to reduce these risks is a learning management system, or LMS. We’ll discuss a few of the ways an LMS can help your organization reduce risk exposure in this article.

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Creating Performance Support While Converting ILT to Online Training During COVID-19 (With Guy Wallace)

In this recorded video discussion, we talk with Guy Wallace about human performance technology (HPT), also known as human performance improvement (HPI), and in particular, about performance support, which is also called guidance and workflow learning, and which can include things like checklists, videos delivered online, helpful tips embedded into software programs, and more.

In particular, Guy talks about the importance of considering creating performance support during the COVID-19 pandemic, when a lot of people in L&D are trying to quickly convert instructor-led training materials to online training.

We appreciate Guy’s insights and contributions, both to this discussion and to the field in general. And we hope you’re all safe and healthy.

(Typically, a coworker makes a split-screen image of myself and of the subject matter expert to function as the thumbnail image for these videos, but there’s a pandemic going on, we’re short-staffed, and so I apologize to Guy that I just went with the default image YouTube applied to the video below). 

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Best Practices for Creating eLearning Courses Quickly During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In a recent article, we gave an introduction to putting instructor-led training, classroom-style training online–primarily in the of a blended learning solution of virtual classrooms, elearning courses, and additional materials that can be distributed online.

In addition to that article, we’ve created more focused, detail articles about that dig deeper into creating virtual classrooms and elearning courses. This article is about elearning courses; stay tuned for the one on virtual classrooms.

In the “credit-where-credit-is-due” department, this article is based on one podcast discussion from a series of recorded podcast discussions by Australian L&D professional Michelle Ockers–you may remember her from our recorded discussion about learning organizations a while ago.

Michelle pulled together a star-studded, who’s-who-from-L&D collection of experts to share their tips on getting some training online in these difficult circumstances.

I’ve reached out to Michelle and she’s given me the OK to publish a link to the talks, summarize the talks, and she was even so kind as to send me transcript of the different talks. So, in order, below you’ll find:

  • A link to the talks (go check ’em out and be sure to follow Michelle and the others on social media)
  • A link to the specific talk with Connie Malamed about creating elearning courses, which is the focus on this article
  • A bulleted list of key points from the talk
  • A transcript of the talk

Here’s the link to all of the discussions; do give them a listen:  The Learning Uncut “Disruption Series” by Michelle Ockers. Michelle is working with other professionals to add more even as I’m typing this article today.

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What Is “Online Learning” And How to Do It Quickly and Easily During the COVID-19 Pandemic

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many people to work from home and reducing or entirely ending meetings for classroom-style, instructor-led training, there’s an understandable move to put instructor-led training online.

In this article, we’re going to give you some general guidelines for transitioning your instructor-led training (ILT) online, give you a better idea of what online training is, and also link you to some additional articles we’ve created that will help you develop the different types of online learning we’ll explain in this article.

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