Who Writes Learning Objectives? - Training and Development

By now, it must be apparent that useful and valid learning objectives result from a collaborative effort between the client management and the T&D department.

But writing these objectives is hard work, and only the T&D specialists are masters of the technology. Does it follow, then, that they should be held accountable for the initiative and for the final product?

Precisely!But it also follows that T&D specialists should never do the work alone.The statement may be for a totally observable action with a thoroughly measurable criterion and well-defined performance conditions. It is worthless if it isn't also a realistic statement of what the client organization needs and of what it will reinforce on the job. Thus a team approach seems critically important in the process of creating professional but practical learning objectives.

Who should be on that team? Ideally, several elements need to be represented. First,the top management in the client department must approve the final objectives. These top managers may not be actively involved in selecting the words—but their final "sign-off" is critical, and they must be involved in a two-way conversation while reviewing those statements. Only such scrutiny by top client management can ensure the legitimacy of the program.

Actually,three elements are usually necessary representatives of the client (line) organization:

  1. top management, at least for review and approval;
  2. typical, or representative,superiors of the workers who will attend the training; and
  3. representative workers. Without those superiors and actual performers, total realism and reasonableness in the final version of the learning objectives are less likely.

And,of course, the T&D department should be represented. Typically, two types of T&D expertise are needed: the consultant who helps analyze the performance problem and defines behavior, and the designer who must create learning systems to develop those behaviors. These functions may very well be combined in or performed by just one person, but the process requires both skills:pinning down the behavior and making certain that some learning method can be devised to achieve it. Without the consultant's active involvement, it is possible that the real problem will go unsolved; without the designer's participation,it is possible that unrealistic learning outcomes or inappropriate methods will be attempted.

The team that produces the learning objectives should probably be organized, as shown in Figure below.

learning objectives should probably be organized

Team for establishing learning objectives.


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