January 8th, 2014 E-Learning

devOne of the biggest challenges any elearning developer will face when creating an elearning module or program is to effectively (and clearly) define the goal and objectives of the training.

I know because this was often an area my development team and I would spend countless hours refining for clients. There was constant back and forth, adding of objectives (scope creep!), rewording of phrases, and ultimately tying everything back to the main goal of the entire training effort. It can be exhausting.

However, this part of elearning program development is arguably the most important. Prior to anything actually being built, it is essential to outline specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound objectives (S.M.A.R.T.) – without them, why even bother?

Why Do Objectives Matter so Much?

Elearning gets a bad wrap for being too much “fluff”. It is easy to characterize elearning programs (and the creators of programs) as soft-skills, “nice-to-have” so to say. However, well-vetted objectives help to break down this stereotype and ultimately influence the development of purpose driven elearning.

Try thinking about this from another perspective. In the engineering world, there are many very complex projects, each broken down into specific, measurable objectives – each one dependent on each other in order for success.

If something goes wrong, then simply analyzing the steps (objectives) leading up to the current state can in many cases pinpoint the issue. In the same way, if it is a success, each objective owner is praised.

Elearning should operate in a similar fashion. If we train someone and the expected result doesn’t go to plan, we need a way to trace it back to an objective. With the objective identified, it then becomes possible to analyze the content around that objective in an effort to pinpoint the issue – and to improve upon it.

This systematic approach will help to lend real purpose to your training programs in a way that can be measured against larger organizational goals.

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About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter

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