BlogLearning & Development

5 Important Learning Goals to Develop Your Teams

Emily Mason
Writer, Learning and Development
Learning & Development
October 3, 2023

Learning goals define desired outcomes, guiding the training process, ensuring focus, and measuring the effectiveness of educational endeavors.

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Goals, goal setting, and personal development have been staples of professional life for years. With workplace engagement rates struggling, goal setting is more important than ever to build a roadmap for employees and management to work towards together. In order to beat the current 21% engagement rate, focused goal setting clarifies expectations and connects learners to their overall purpose at work. 

Let’s explore: 

  • Some great learning goals that could level up your teams
  • How to develop great learning goals
  • The ‘what’ and ‘why’ of learning goals
  • The difference between learning goals and learning objectives

And because workplace development and training go hand-in-hand, we’ll be sharing some key ways that an LMS like Continu supports this process!

1. Learners complete new training courses

Set a timeline goal for this (complete the first course by the end of Q2, for example). Evaluate your training workload and determine the right number of completed courses you should aim for. Using an LMS to track your progress will incentivize your teams to complete this goal. 

This is an important goal because it helps establish a culture of learning and a baseline expectation that all learners will be actively engaged in ongoing development.

2. Increase training content engagement rates by 

Learner engagement is a key predictor of L&D and overall organizational success. If your teams simply aren’t engaging with your training content, your efforts to create the content are wasted! Determine the right percentage to aim for based on your current rates. 

A supporting objective could be measuring important KPIs as a baseline, like average time to complete a course, course attendance rates, and average test scores.

3. Learn a new tool or software to increase competency 

Support your learners’ desire for upskilling by identifying programs or tools that will provide value for your whole organization and support individual careers. Set a goal to connect learners to courses for external professional qualifications. Once completed, each learner could create a summary module to benefit and share knowledge with their team. 

Supporting objectives could include: 

  • Design a course within 3 months to teach employees how to use a new CRM. 
  • Send X# of learners on an external professional development or qualification course within 6 months. 

4. Establish a cross-departmental mentoring program

Mentoring is a great way to upskill teams, increase ownership & engagement, and unify your teams. A workplace mentoring program also supports blended learning, bringing concepts from courses to life through practice and social interaction. 

Targeted objectives will be necessary to accomplish this goal. These could include: 

  • Conduct a survey within 1 month to identify areas of need and interested employees.
  • Develop a matching system to match 10 pairs of employees for an 8-week trial. 

5. Incorporate a training course using a new learning style

Research shows that training to varied learning styles is more effective than a single method, like visual or auditory learning. There are also new methods, like virtual reality, which have been deployed for uses like safety training in healthcare and factory design in manufacturing. 

Perhaps your organization just needs to start with a smaller step of incorporating a new learning style into your training content. For example, record tutorials to accompany written guides on process & procedure manuals.

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How do I develop learning goals? 

Learning goals set the high-level road map for your teams to follow, with a healthy dose of inspiration and vision-casting to motivate their progress! Here are a few tips to develop better learning goals for your organization. 

Step 1: Conduct a skill gap analysis 

A skill gap analysis identifies the skills missing from an employee’s current skill set, compared to the skills they need to excel in their role. Sometimes we have blinders on to our own areas that need growth. 

If you look at it positively, a skill gap analysis is a very pragmatic way to provide relevant workplace training. Upskilling is in high demand, and most employees are looking for practical support from their employer to build valuable skills for a lifelong career. 

After a skill gap analysis, you’ll know the broader areas where your teams need better training. Build your goals around those areas! 

Step 2: Work through the goal-setting process (SMART) 

Because learning goals are long-term and broad, learners sometimes struggle with the goals feeling vague. That’s why a thoughtful approach to training goals is important and helps to refine them to give learners and L&D a clear target.

You’re likely very familiar with the SMART acronym for setting goals and objectives. A SMART objective is:  

  • Specific
  • Measurable (remember, not all larger learning goals will be technically measurable, but the smaller objectives will) 
  • Achievable
  • Relevant 
  • Time-bound 

Consider this learning goal which matches the SMART criteria:

Increase customer satisfaction scores to 85% through improved product knowledge and communication by the end of this year. 

Step 3: Define your smaller learning objectives 

The next step is to break down your goals into smaller building blocks – learning objectives. The learning objectives will be more specific than the goal, and act as a rubric or checklist to be sure you have covered the relevant topics to achieve each goal. 

If you use an LMS for employee training, categorize and label your training content according to the smaller objectives each module or course will complete. This will make it simple for your learners to find content related to their learning goals. 

For example, the learning goal from step 2 above can be broken down into objectives like: 

  • Enroll all customer support employees in one new course to improve product knowledge by Q2.
  • Gather and evaluate customer feedback from the last 2 quarters, and identify 3 key challenges for customer satisfaction. 
  • Introduce video response and coaching tools. Use this assessment method once by the end of the quarter with your support department team. 

Step 4: Align with the overarching organization goals 

It’s important to work through learning goals and be sure they connect well to overall organizational goals for your business. Learners need motivation and buy-in from their career path and interests being taken into account.

At the same time, your business has a mission and purpose to accomplish, so be sure that learning goals connect back to those and serve the dual purpose of supporting learners and the business.

Step 5: Share the resources your learners need 

Practical support goes a long way in workplace learning. Make an effort to educate your employees about opportunities and resources available to help them accomplish their goals. 

As managers review individual employee goals and have check-in meetings, be sure they are aware of all the available resources to support learner goals. These could include: 

  • Grants or tuition reimbursement for continuing education
  • Connections to peers or industry leaders for networking and mentorship
  • Upcoming events, projects, or research opportunities to support their learning
  • Training materials or content related to their objectives or goals

Step 6: Track and celebrate progress 

With specific learning objectives defined, you’ll be able to track how learners are progressing towards the larger goal. Using an LMS gives you detailed insight into course completion and learner engagement and multiple assessment methods like quizzes, video responses, and graded assignments. Keeping learners on track becomes much easier with automated notifications through Google Calendar, Slack, and MS Teams. 

Recognizing progress is the one of the best parts of workplace learning! Be sure to acknowledge when your learners have met a new milestone or completed objectives towards a larger goal. Psst – Continu Badges are a great way to celebrate progress! 

Why Should I Use an LMS Like Continu? 

Make goal-setting and achievement second-nature.

Development goals and training go hand in hand. That’s why workplaces with engaged employees who achieve their goals usually have effective training programs supporting the success. 

An LMS is the ideal partner to deliver workplace training and achieve learning objectives and goals. Here are a few reasons why: 

1. Track performance effectively 

An LMS is a great tool for performance reviews and helping managers and teams to accurately assess their performance and development. 

Continu’s My Reports dashboard gives the real-time data that L&D and management need to track performance and see where learners may be struggling. When it’s time to see whether goals are being met, Continu reporting tools quickly give insight and help you evaluate training ROI with ease. 

2. Create engaging content

A library of excellent training resources is invaluable to your learners. How much effort and time does it take to create a training course in your current LMS or workflow? Continu’s course authoring tools make it simple to build an engaging module or learning track in minutes, not weeks! 

With Continu you can:

  • Upload, embed, link, and record videos and media directly in the platform. 
  • Import or reference documents and files from other tools right within Continu.
  • Manage ILT all in one place: mark attendance, create wait-lists and automatically share pre and post-workshop materials.

3. Provide the central source for training

Learning goals and objectives are tailored and customized to specific learners and departments. That’s why having an LMS as a central platform for training is so valuable. No matter what the goal or objective, learners can find the information they need, including full learning tracks, webinar recordings, metrics, and more. 

Goals are pointless if you fail to follow through and track progress, and an LMS provides the vital system to organize materials and make learning an enjoyable part of the work day! 


What are learning goals? 

Learning goals are statements that establish the purpose and intended outcomes for learners working through a particular course. They are intended to enhance learners’ professional characteristics, competencies, and skills.

Learning goals also deliver outcomes that benefit the wider organization’s performance. 

Learning goals vs objectives: what’s the difference?

While some people define learning objectives and goals in the same way, many would say that there’s an important difference. 

  • Learning goals are long-term and broad. They lay out the general goal for the training or course, and they may not be technically measurable.
  • Learning objectives are a subset of goals. They describe what information, skills, and behaviors learners should be able to demonstrate after receiving training. Learning objectives should be relevant, specific, and meaningful to get the most out of the learning process.

Each learning objective should support your overarching learning goal. If it does, and you keep it specific, you’ll have a meaningful objective that learners can understand and trainers can pursue.

With this distinction in mind, learning goals are the broader targets reached through achieving successive, smaller learning objectives.

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About the Author
Emily Mason is the Content Writer at Continu.
Emily Mason
Writer, Learning and Development

Emily is a copywriter and content marketer specializing in Learning and Development. Emily is currently based in West Michigan. She loves words, coffee, and walking by the lake.

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