We’re going to start this article assuming you know what a learning objective is. If you don’t, check this free downloadable guide to writing learning objectives first.
And now that we’ve got that covered, here are some reasons why you should use learning objectives when you create training materials.
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Reasons to Use Learning Objectives When Creating Training Materials:
Keeps the learner’s learning and performance needs at the center of your efforts
If there’s a cardinal rule in developing training content, it’s to keep the learner’s needs front and center. Creating learning objectives, and using them throughout the training content development process, will help you do this.
Gives the learner a chance to know what he/she should be able to do after the training
The learning objectives at the beginning of your training material will tell the learner what content will be covered and what he or she will need to be able to do at the end of the training.
Gives the learner a chance to self-assess during training
Given a set of learning objectives, the learner can assess his or her own mastery of them during training. Not only does this help the learner know where he or she stands, but “metacognitive” tasks like evaluating what you know are an aid to learning.
Helps you make sure that all necessary content is included
Having learning objectives gives you an easy way to make sure all the important stuff is covered. Just check each objective to see if the training content covers it adequately.
Helps you make sure that unnecessary content is not included
Having learning objectives also makes it easy to find “bonus” material that shouldn’t be included. If it isn’t necessary to teach the objective, give it the axe.
Helps you create the right assessment items
When you’re creating your assessments, all you have to do is create assessments that cover each learning objective. Easy, huh?
Helps you organize (or “chunk”) your training materials
During the training needs assessment and analysis phases, you will find the different tasks and sub-tasks that you must teach. You will then use these to create your learning objectives, and that will help you find the logical groups or “chunks” to organize your content into.
Provides best way to evaluate the learner’s performance
You should begin the process of creating training material by knowing what you want the learner to do when training is over. Creating learning objectives (and matching assessment items) is the best way to determine if the learner has met that goal.
Provides the best way to evaluate the effectiveness of the learning materials
You’ll also want to evaluate the effectiveness of your own training materials. If learners are completing your training materials but still can’t do what you want them to do, you’ll need to revise the materials.
Helps you and others in training program determine which training materials to assign to which people
Having training materials with clear learning objectives makes it easy to know which materials to assign to which learners (based on the skills you want them to acquire).
So there you have it–quite a few solid reasons for using learning objectives when you create your training materials. These reasons should help you see just how critical it is to use objectives, and how many different ways they help out.
Some people believe that presenting a bulleted list of learning objectives to your learners at the beginning of a training course bores your learners and winds up detracting from the learning experience. That may be a good point. These people often suggest presenting the learning objectives to the learners in a more engaging format. Again, this may be a good point. Have you done this? If so, how have you done it and how well did it work?
Have all these reasons got ya thinking? If so, check out our next post in this series, which explains SMART learning objectives.
For a full, in-depth guide to everything you need to know about learning creating objectives, download our free guide below.