Many organizations, regardless of industry, provide specialized training programs at some point to build new skills and develop their staff.
Training objectives keep development programs on target and ensure employees recognize their importance.
In this post, we'll look at what training objectives are and how to design them, along with some examples to help you properly and effectively train your entire organization.
What are training objectives?
Training objectives are clear, measurable goals set for a training program. They define what learners should know or be able to do upon completion. Objectives guide course design, measure progress, and assess the effectiveness of the training.
Also, training objectives are essential components of new employee onboarding processes and may differ by industry or company.
Components of effective training objectives
The three main components of training objectives are performance, condition, and criteria. Each of these training components identifies individual aspects of the overall employee training program.
Here are some questions that need to be answered when establishing objectives for employee training: What will employees learn? How will you deliver learning materials? Which metrics are being measured?
What are you hoping employees take away from their training? Is your training designed to upskill or reskill employees? Knowing the expected outcome of training is the first step in developing training objectives.
How will the employees learn? What learning materials will they be given and in what timeframe? Training objectives should contain specific details of the training program. Think about where your training will be offered, what employees are eligible for which materials, and what the deadlines are for completing certain programs.
How will you measure employee training? Make sure all employee training objectives have a key performance indicator for checking it was successful. Without this measurable component, it will be hard to judge if your objectives were all met.
Before you sit down to write out your training objectives, take a look at your employee development goals. Do they reflect your vision of how you want your training program to run? Does it speak to the intended result of a well-run program?
If not, write your training objectives in this fashion and make sure it serves as a template for all of your training processes.
Now let’s discuss the steps to write specific learning objectives that answer how your goal will be accomplished.
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How to write training objectives for employees
Effective training objectives for employees are structured around the outcomes of employee training. They need to revolve around business OKRs while also providing employees with the knowledge and skills to improve their job performance.
Here are the 5 steps to creating training objectives for team members:
- Decide on the number of training objectives
- Craft objectives based on employee skill level
- Training objectives need KPIs
- Use action verbs to correlate success
- Analyze your training objectives
Step #1: Decide on the number of training objectives
Before you begin actually writing your training objectives, you need to establish how many will suit your employee training needs. Some suggest a number like six as being a good number of training objectives to aim for but, you could have three or even twelve objectives.
What’s more important is keeping in mind your various audiences. Write training objectives for each audience. For example, you are an enterprise-level company that trains external users and internal employees. So you would need to write objectives geared toward:
- Full-time employees
- Team Leads
Step # 2: Craft objectives based on employee skill level
If your training program is geared toward all levels of employees then a person just starting out their career will need different training than a seasoned veteran. With this in mind, craft learning objectives based on varying degrees of curriculum and material needed per employee level.
To help facilitate this process, consult Bloom’s Taxonomy. Bloom’s philosophy was started in the 1950s by Dr. Benjamin Bloom to promote higher forms of thinking in the education field. But today, this philosophy has further been adapted and is being used in several industries. One of these areas is corporate training.
Bloom identified six principles that learners experience during training sessions. These same six principles can easily be applied to corporate employees as well:
1. Knowledge: employees are taught the basics of their expected skill sets and repeat back what they've learned throughout the training.
2. Comprehension: after initial training, employees need to translate newly learned concepts into their own words. Managers can gauge their retention in the form of employee engagement survey questions.
3. Application: the next principle is about applying newly learned skills within real-world situations through gamified training.
4. Analysis: managers or instructors must analyze how well the training went by having employees solve a problem or overcome a situation that revolves around the concepts learned.
5. Evaluation: a great way to judge if employees have mastered a training program is to let them teach others at lower levels through peer learning. It can also be a great way to create a mentorship program.
6. Creation: training now becomes "full circle", meaning management asks employees to create training materials or lessons for training others.
Step #3: Training objectives need KPIs
In order to measure the effectiveness and success rate of your training objectives, you'll need to assign training KPIs to individual aspects. These metrics are numbers or percentages relating to actions taken throughout the training process. Typical key performance indicators to measure training are:
- Attendance rates - the percentage of attendees that sign up vs attend a training
- Completion rates - the percentage of attendees that completed the entire training
- Time to completion - how long it took on average for attendees to complete the training
- Fail rates - the percentage of attendees that failed (or passed) the training, captured through assessments
A best practice for writing training objectives is to include a timeframe or benchmark when measuring your training effectiveness.
Step #4: Use action verbs to correlate success
To ensure a training objective can be measured correctly, try using action verbs when developing them. Use words like identity, translate, test, and rank instead of words like capable of, appreciate, be aware of, and know.
This makes it easy to assign a number to the objects such as "identify the correct outcome of a user interacting with this product feature". It can easily be used as an assessment question while determining the employee's knowledge or expertise.
Step #5: Analyze your training objectives
Once you have finished drafting your training objective statements, ask yourself these questions:
- Did I communicate my objectives effectively to my intended audiences?
- What is my framework for how my employees will learn?
- Did I convey what training tools my employees will use to learn?
- Did I provide my employees with a way to measure their own progress?
- Do my facilitators understand their role and what they need to accomplish?
Your primary goal in writing training objectives is to create a framework that is used to teach, train, and measure employee training programs. These objectives can be designed for a variety of use cases such as:
- Sales training
- Product knowledge
- Compliance or diversity
- HR and onboarding
- Customer training
After writing training objectives, it's important to continually return and modify your approach to employee training.