Why and how to write eLearning objectives?

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If you simply induct your employees into training without them knowing what to expect out of it, they will be like a chicken without a head- clueless about where they are headed. Quite obviously, they will not put in the level of efforts that you so dearly want them to.

Every training module, every smallest bit of an eLearning or mLearning course takes a lot of effort and careful thinking. To add more meaning to it, every course, chapter and module should have its own clearly set of defined objectives.

Why and how to write eLearning objectives

To be able to write these, it is first important to understand the difference between aims and objectives. To put it simply, objectives are little subsets of an overall aim. Let’s say you want to teach your employees on how to use the internet. In such a course, the personal aim of each employee will be:

‘To successfully learn and use internet and internet-enabled applications’.

Once you have done this, you won’t go about writing a whole manual about using the internet, right? You will logically proceed chapter-wise. For example, introducing the browser, email, search engines, and so on. For each of these chapters, you need to define a particular objective. For example, chapters could have objectives like:

‘How to use a browser?’

‘What is e-mail?’

‘What does a search-engine do?’

‘How to get the best results from a search – engine?’ …. And so on.

The idea here is to set expectations. A simple one or two liner motivates learners to take up the eLearning course because they know exactly what they are going to add to their repertoire of knowledge and skills. Also, it is a good practice to break your learning content into small chunks. This helps in three ways:

  • The objectives are easier to define for the course creator, as well as to understand for the learner.
  • Employees will be less reluctant to start a chapter because it is ‘too long’ or ‘won’t finish’.
  • Smaller chapters make continuous assessment of whether the course is on track, easier.
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Writing the aims and objectives can either be done before the content is written, or after it. Either way, it is important to scrutinize them before finalizing them for use by the learners. Instructional designers must put themselves in the shoes of the learner and check whether the content delivers on the defined aims and objectives.

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