Designing Training Plans and Learning Objectives

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    © Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC.

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    Learn More in the Library’s Blogs Related to Designing Training and Development Plans

    In addition to the articles on this current page, also see the following blogs that have posts related to Designing Training and Development Plans. Scan down the blog’s page to see various posts. Also, see the section “Recent Blog Posts” in the sidebar of the blog or click on “Next” near the bottom of a post in the blog. The blog also links to numerous free related resources.

    Preparation for Designing Your Training Plan

    The purpose of the design phase is to identify the learning objectives that together will achieve the overall goals identified during the needs assessment phase of systematic training design. You will also identify the learning activities (or methods) you’ll need to conduct to achieve your learning objectives and overall training goals.

    Design Your Learning Objectives

    Learning objectives specify the new knowledge, skills, and abilities that a learner should accomplish from undertaking a learning experience, such as a course, webinar, self-study, or group activity. Achievement of all of the learning objectives should result in accomplishing all of the overall training goals of the training and development experience(s).

    Understand the Alignment, Dimensions, and Terms in Learning Objectives

    The following table depicts how learning objectives are associated with the training goals (identified during the needs assessment phase), learning methods/activities, and evidence of learning and evaluation activities.

    Training Goal

    Overall results or capabilities you hope to attain by implementing your training plan, e.g.,

    1. pass a supervisor qualification test

    Learning Objectives

    what you will be able to do as a result of the learning activities in this plan, e.g.,

    1. exhibit required skills in problem-solving and decision making
    2. exhibit required skills in delegation

    Learning Methods / Activities

    what you will do in order to achieve the learning objectives, e.g.,

    1. complete a course in basic supervision
    2. address a major problem that includes making major decisions
    3. delegate to a certain employee for one month
    4. etc.

    Documentation / Evidence of Learning

    evidence produced during your learning activities — these are results that someone can see, hear, feel, read, smell, e.g.,

    1. course grade
    2. your written evaluation of your problem-solving and decision-making approaches
    3. etc.


    assessment and judgment on the quality of evidence in order to conclude whether you achieved the learning objectives or not

    Examples to Convey Nature of Well-Written Learning Objectives

    To help learners understand how to design learning objectives, the following examples are offered to convey the nature of learning objectives. The examples are not meant to be offered as examples to be adopted word-for-word as learning objectives. Trainers and/or learners should design their own learning objectives to meet their overall training goals and to match their preferred strategies for learning. The topic of the learning objective is included in bolding and italics. Learning objectives are numbered directly below.

    Topic: Communication

    1. explain four basic principles of communication (verbal and non-verbal) and active, empathetic listening.
    2. outline four barriers and bridges to communication
    3. list at least four ways communication skills that encourage staff involvement will help create a positive work environment.

    Topic: Mentoring

    1. explain basic job duties and standards from job description to staff
    2. outline at least five specific learning goals with staff by comparing performance with job duties
    3. develop a yearly plan with staff to accomplish learning needs, supervision plan, and rewards

    Topic: Effective coaching

    1. state at least three job expectations for staff that focusing on meeting resident’s needs
    2. plan five strategies to give frequent verbal and non-verbal encouragement and rewards
    3. identify specific performance concerns with staff asking for possible solutions and decide together  methods of measuring successful outcomes

    Topic: Cultural Diversity

    1. plan workable strategies for incorporating new staff into the work team
    2. select their own means to exhibit an appreciation of how values and perceptions affect communication
    3. make available for staff a series of learning opportunities for increased world knowledge and cultural information

    Topic: Time Management

    1. list job expectations of staff
    2. provide tools to use in prioritizing tasks of resident care
    3. create with staff a tentative schedule for care based on these facts

    Topic: Conflict resolution

    1. explain at least five basic principles of empathetic communication to handle conflict
    2. develop a policy that gives current front-line leaders the permission and expectation to work with other staff on conflict resolution
    3. develop a policy for progressive discipline and explain how this works to current front-line leaders

    Topic: Stress Management

    1. list and recognize major symptoms and behaviors related to too much stress
    2. outline three to five stress management strategies
    3. list quick strategies staff can use during work shifts as well as at home to reduce stress level
    4. educate staff about basic guidelines to build support work teams

    Topic: Communication Skills/Cultural Approaches

    1. teach each other and staff about different cultural approaches and living styles
    2. identify three steps to foster a climate where differences in cultures are reviewed as positive and additive
    3. learn at least three methods of problem-solving when cultural differences and practices interfere with necessary resident care.

    Topic: Job expectation/Coordination including authority and responsibility

    1. learn three approaches to problem-solving which include the identification of the underlying problem
    2. make staff assignments based on input from staff
    3. evaluate approaches and make corrections based on outcomes

    Topic: Teamwork/Positive work environment/Positive Rewards

    1. identify characteristics of an effective team
    2. describe four skills leaders can use to foster commitment and collaboration
    3. develop at least five guidelines for treating staff with respect and helping staff learn from each other

    Topic: Goal Setting/Performance Reviews

    1. develop guidelines to set specific goals with staff and help them plan to meet these goals
    2. develop policy that encourages staff to seek education goals through career ladders
    3. develop guidelines for effective observation and feedback toward goal achievement (by staff)

    Topic: Constructive Criticism/Consequences

    1. establish clear standards of behavior, and that recognize and reward staff when they meet the standards
    2. list ways to approach staff whose performance is a concern (with a win-win frame of mind)
    3. describe how learning empathetic communication will help front-line leaders handle conflict/constructive communication and help plan for a solution

    Analyze Your Learning Objectives for Relevance, Alignment, Sequence and Testability

    1. What Sequence Should the Objectives Be Achieved?

    Usually, learning builds on learning. It may be useful to learn certain areas of knowledge and skills before learning new areas.

    2. Will the Objectives Achieve the Overall Training Goal(s)?

    Now you’re ready to write down your learning objectives in the Framework to Design Your Training Plan.

    3. What Are the Best Learning Activities to Achieve the Objectives?

    Do the methods match the learners’ particular learning styles, for example, reading, doing, or listening? Do the methods stretch their styles, too? Are the methods readily accessible? Do the methods take advantage of real-life learning opportunities, for example, use on-the-job training opportunities, real-life problems that occur at work, use projects and programs at work? Note that learning activities do always match learning objectives on a one-for-one basis. You might benefit from the following links, Some Typical Ways of Learning, Some New Ways of Learning in the Workplace, and Learning Style Inventory.)

    4. Do the Activities Include Ongoing Reflections About Learning?

    The learners will benefit from regularly taking time to stand back and inquire about what is going on in the training, what are they learning, and what, if anything, should be changed. Skills in reflection are critical for ongoing learning in life and work. Consider using a private learning journal. Now you’re ready to write down the learning activities in the Framework to Design Your Training Plan.

    5. What Results, or Evidence of Learning, Will Be Produced?

    For ideas about what results to design into your plan, see Samples of Learner’s Results as Means to Verify Learning. Now you’re ready to write down your evidence of learning in the Framework to Design Your Training Plan.

    6. Who Will Verify That Each of the Learning Objectives Was Reached?

    Ideally, the learning is evaluated by someone who has strong expertise in the areas of knowledge and skills required to achieve the training goals. Now you’re ready to write down your evaluator in the Framework to Design Your Training Plan.

    7. What Costs Will Be Associated With Developing and Implementing Your Plan?

    Think about facilities, technologies, personnel, special expertise, etc. You may want to update the “Budget” section in the Framework to Design Your Training Plan.

    8. How Will Learners Manage Time and Stress During Learning?

    Professional development inherently includes the need for self-development, as well. Therefore, you might consider the information in the sections:
    Stress Management | Time Management | Work-Life Balance | Self-Confidence | Emotional Intelligence | Maintaining a Positive Attitude

    Designing Training Rooms (Classrooms)

    Additional Information About Designing Training Plans

    Various Ideas for Ways to Learn

    The following list of methods is really a mix of modes, types, and learning aids from which the learner might draw many ideas for learning.

    Learn More in the Library’s Blogs Related to This Topic

    In addition to the articles on this current page, also see the following blogs that have posts related to this topic. Scan down the blog’s page to see various posts. Also, see the section “Recent Blog Posts” in the sidebar of the blog or click on “Next” near the bottom of a post in the blog. The blog also links to numerous free related resources.

    Go to the main Training and Development page.

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