Using Behavioral Learning Objectives to Prepare An Effective Adult Training Session
Adult learners like to know where they are headed in a training session as it begins. Compare this to taking a trip, if someone said to you, “Let’s go on a trip; get into the car?” Your first question is likely to be, “Where are we going.” Similarly, if you step in front of a group and say, we’re going on a journey to explore new ways to serve customers, you learners probably will want to know what will be addressed. This is to help them determine if they need it and the potential result for their time investment.
To identify the path and content for your learning journey, you should do a needs assessment. You can do this by surveying or interviewing potential attendees, their supervisors and possibly their customers. Your goal will be to determine what knowledge and skills potential participants already have and what they need to learn in order to improve their performance on the job. By discovering potential performance deficits, you can then structure training content to meet their needs and make the learning event valuable in terms of time, money and effort spent by learners, their organization and you.
As you design and develop session content and training aids, make sure to list learning objectives in participant handouts. Also, make objectives visual for learners by listing them on a flip chart page or slide. Doing these things allow you to display them and discuss how each point will be addressed as the session progresses. This approach will also aid your visual learners and help reinforce the areas on which they should focus throughout the program.
Robert Mager was one of the first human resource practitioners to identify a format for performance objectives. Two criteria that he proposed were that a learning objective should be specific and measurable. The objective should also start with an action verb. Here is a sample behavioral learning objective format:
At the end of this session, and when using what was learned, participants will be able to create behavioral learning objectives that include specific knowledge or skills and will be measurable.
For additional learning strategies that can be used for creating and using learning objectives, enhancing learning outcomes and improving adult learning session outcomes, get a copy of Training Workshop Essentials: Designing, Developing and Delivering Learning Events that Get Results.