All effective learning objectives have certain characteristics. The developer should always take these characteristics into consideration when constructing objectives.
- Attainable: Is the objective possible to achieve by the average trainee?
- Specific: Is the wording concise? Has unnecessary and confusing verbiage been removed?
-Clear: Will everyone interpret the objective in the same way?
- Measurable: Can this behavior be measured? How? With what kind of gauge?
Effective learning objectives can be stated in a variety of formats. The most common format combines condition, action, and standard statements. This combination explicitly defines the condition under which the performance occurs, what knowledge or skill is exhibited, and the standards of acceptable performance.
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This guide to good practices provides information and guidance on the types of and development of learning objectives in a systematic approach to training (SAT) program. Contractors are encouraged to consider this guidance as a reference when developing new learning objectives or refining existing ones. Training managers, designers, developers, and instructors are the intended audiences.
A learning objective is defined as "a statement that specifies measurable behavior that a trainee should exhibit after instruction." Properly prepared learning objectives consist of the following parts:
- A statement of behavior (action) the trainee must exhibit
- The conditions under which the action will take place
- The standards of satisfactory performance
The development of effective training materials is dependent on the development of learning objectives which adhere to a strict set of criteria. Learning objectives are developed from analysis information obtained during the design phase of the systematic approach to training (SAT) process. It is important that objectives are developed and approved early since they form the foundation for the development of test items and all other training material. Because objectives serve as the design basis of performance-based training programs, they should clearly describe the trainee's desired performance to preclude misinterpretation.