SMART but Unspoken Learning Objectives
“Should I show my learning objectives at the beginning of my training?”
Many people are asking this as the practice of explicitly stating learning objectives becomes less popular. Does this mean that learning objectives are falling out of fashion too? No. In fact, learning objectives are alive and well. They remain the foundation of good training.
As instructional designers, we craft each learning objective carefully to ensure we’re accomplishing the goals and pushing toward the desired outcomes of each training. Learning objectives set the stage, outline assumptions, and determine the training activities that should be included.
Here’s a case in point. An aerospace manufacturing company we created compliance training for wanted employees to know where to go for additional information. The primary learning objective of this training was this: “At the end of this course, learners can list the resources available to them.” Not only did this learning objective support the desired outcome of the training, it was measurable, timely, and specific.
But we didn’t state this learning objective at the beginning of the training. Even so, this singular outcome drove all elements of the training—from the learning objectives to the scenarios to the knowledge checks. Scenario-based knowledge checks prompted learners to identify which resource would be best for that scenario.
So even though the learning objective wasn’t explicitly stated anywhere in the course, it supported every piece of the training.
That’s what a good learning objective does.