An organisation can find it hard to devise and develop a course that has learning objectives consistent with that organisation’s business aims. In many cases a course is built around objectives that aren’t clear and this negatively impacts those using the online tools. This leads to a situation where the objectives weren’t clear at the outset, ensuring that the outcome is a failure to meet the objectives set.
This lack of clarity does present problems for a business and the success of an e-Learning course is not the adoption of this learning model but the outcome. Without clear objective a course cannot even fulfil its most basic aims.
Establish clear goals
There are a number of areas that need to be considered to develop a successful and enticing course.
It’s a good idea to ask these questions right at the start:
- Why is this course being developed?
- What’s the expected outcome for participants?
- How can we meet the objectives set?
An information-based course must have a goal that’s clear and easy in terms of its application. In many instances, the goal isn’t based on immediate performance expectations. An organisation has to realise that offering a course will not change the inherent behaviour and interactions of employees. Instead a course should be developed that reinforces positive traits and reminds the employees of the organisation’s moral and ethical perspectives.
A business can use e-Learning to support its rules on employee behaviour and reiterate the way that it wants its staff to interact with co-workers and bosses. In this case an information based course and its assessment is limited (usually) to one point at the end of the year. The objective then is simple; certify familiarity of the organisations policies by a specific date.
There is another course type to consider known as a performance course. This course is different from the information course and its objectives are more far-reaching. A performance course is measured through change, so it’s about teaching, rather than reinforcing knowledge.
Both course types are valuable and it’s up to the organisation to choose which one suits its employees the best. There are benefits to each approach and it’s likely that a forward thinking business could even integrate the two successfully to create a singular course that encompasses both e-Learning approaches mentioned.
There are a number of simple approaches to developing learning objectives and it’s important to be aware of your intentions and for those using your e-Learning services to be aware of those aims too. At the heart of creating a strong and useful learning objective is the determination of the action required. The question to ask is, “What will this objective look like when I see it applied?”
If you’ve managed to identify your action, you can then measure the effectiveness of your course. A badly devised learning objective is hard to measure, intangible really, and even harder to see in action. Define exactly what you want in the clearest terms possible and how you will see it in action.
Break down your learning objective further
When you have a learning objective in mind you’ll likely find that it’s fairly large and over arching. If you consider it in enough depth, it’s probable that you’ll be able to break down that objective even further into manageable sub headers and categories. The learning objectives often appear as a larger goal, which is a good, basic aim that should be measureable.
To achieve the larger objective it will more than likely require other actions. These actions should also be identified and the steps to determining each sub category should be similar to the ones you embarked on to discover your key-learning objective.
This means, that for your course to successfully meet the main learning objective, it has to first hit each and every sub-category. These smaller secondary objectives are nearly as important as the larger objective and each step towards achieving them means that the main aim is increasingly likely to be attained.
The power of the list
Lists are always useful and when it comes to determining your objectives they can be applied well. Write a list with your main learning objective at the top and then list all of the periphery actions required to achieve that goal. Each action should clearly support your over all objective.
The smaller objectives can serve as modules within the course and they provide smaller chunks of learning that your employees can use to gauge how well they’re doing. It can help a business determine if the course is headed in the right direction and whether learning is moving towards the final goal.
E-Learning is a burgeoning market and it’s a good idea to remember that successful implementation of this online approach relies heavily on good course design and management. Make sure that you identify clear objectives, good smaller goals, and develop a course that engages with users and helps them to achieve the collective goal that benefits both them, and your business.