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Posts Tagged ‘objectives’

I hear it all the time when we build training objectives.  People will say, “you’ve got to understand the process,” “you need to know the features and benefits of the process,” “you need to be “aware of all the safety hazards.”  Words like understand, know and aware or all things that happen inside people’s heads.  It’s not a description of what they will actually be doing with this new knowledge, understanding and awareness.  In many cases, it’s nothing or something like retain it for a few weeks and then forget it.  It’s quite a leap between knowing how to do something and actually doing it.  You can know how to make a great presentation to a large group but that doesn’t mean you can.  You can know the features and benefits of a product but not be able to use them effectively during a sales presentation with a hostile prospect.

So to write better objectives, I like to ask the question “so what?”  If I have an awareness of safety hazards..so what?  What does it do for me?  How do I put that awareness in action?  It’s better to state something like, “recognizes all safety hazards and takes steps to avoid them.”  It’s a better sales objective to say, “presents products by describing the appropriate features and benefits to meet the customers needs.”

What this leads to is training the focuses on results and changed behaviors rather than knowledge acquisition.  It also leads to different ways to train versus death by PowerPoint and data dumps.  This is especially true when subject matter experts deliver training.  They tend to “tell” students what they think they should know.  They forget the part about how they learned to put that knowledge into action.

Finally cognitive objectives lead to paper and pencil tests..fill in the blanks, multiple choice, and true/false.  Easy to score but won’t tell you about what students will do on the job.  That’s way there is often little correlation between what happens on the test and what happens on the job.  Changing these objectives requires more observation do evaluate what’s been learned.

Photo Uploaded on April 28, 2006
by Imapix

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