Learning and professional development is an essential part of any business, and it’s crucial to ensure that the training your company provides is effective and achieves its intended purpose. This is where setting clear and measurable training objectives comes in. 

Objectives for training are specific goals that define what learners are expected to achieve by the time they’ve completed their training. Read on to explore what training objectives are, how they differ from training goals, the purpose of setting training objectives, how to write them, and examples of both objectives and goals.

What is a training objective?

A training objective is a specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) statement that defines what learners are expected to achieve by the end of a training program. It is a clear description of the knowledge, skills, and behaviors that the learners should acquire or be able to demonstrate at the end of training. The training objectives you create should be aligned with the overall goals and objectives of your company or organization, and they should be relevant to your learners’ job roles.

Training objectives vs training goals

While the terms “training objectives” and “training goals” are often used interchangeably, and are similar in nature, they are not identical. 

Training objectives are specific, measurable, and time-bound statements that describe what learners are expected to achieve as a result of participating in a training program. Objectives are usually written from the learner’s perspective and focus on the desired outcomes of the training. You are able to measure results by numbers, percentages, or pass/fail outcomes. 

Training goals, on the other hand, are broader statements that describe what the organization hopes to achieve through the training program. Goals are often written from the company or organization’s perspective, and focus on the big-picture outcomes that the training is intended to support. Goals can also be measured numerically or through pass/fail outcomes. Both training objectives and training goals are essential for designing and implementing effective training programs.

What is the purpose of setting training objectives?

The purpose of setting training objectives is to provide clarity both for learners and managers. Clear training objectives inform learners what skills and knowledge they’re expected to gain from the training program, as well as what metrics will be used to evaluate if they gained that knowledge. In turn, managers have a clear direction on how to evaluate if the objective has been achieved or not.

Key reasons why it’s important to set training objectives:

  1. Clarify expectations
    Training objectives help to clarify what is expected of learners and what they need to achieve to complete the training program successfully. This clarity allows learners to stay focused on the desired outcomes and understand how the training will help them to develop new skills and knowledge.

  2. Measure progress
    Training objectives provide a measurable way to track learners’ progress throughout the training program. By setting specific, measurable, and time-bound objectives, you can easily assess whether learners are achieving the desired outcomes and make any necessary adjustments to the training program to ensure that learners are on track.

  3. Improve learning outcomes
    By taking time to write clear objectives for training before that training is rolled out, you’re compelled to evaluate if the program you’ve created matches the objective it’s supposed to achieve. This will help you identify any gaps in the training program before you initiate it, instead of after the fact.

How do you write training objectives?

Writing effective training objectives is critical to designing and implementing an effective training program. Here are some clear, actionable tips to creating training objectives:

  • Define the desired outcomes
    The first step in writing training objectives is to clearly define the desired outcomes of the training program. This involves identifying what learners need to know or be able to do by the end of the training program.

  • Use the SMART criteria
    The SMART criteria is a framework for setting effective objectives. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Use this framework to ensure that your objectives are clear, actionable, and achievable within a specified time frame.

  • Write from the learner’s perspective
    When writing training objectives, it’s important to write from the learner’s perspective. Objectives should focus on what learners will be able to do or know by the end of the training program.

  • Use action verbs
    Use action verbs in your objectives to clearly describe what learners are expected to do. For example, use verbs like “identify,” “analyze,” “demonstrate,” or “evaluate.”

  • Keep it concise
    Training objectives should be concise and easy to understand. Use simple language and avoid jargon or technical terms that learners may not understand.

  • Prioritize objectives
    Prioritize your objectives based on their importance to the overall success of the training program. This will help to ensure that learners are focused on the most critical skills and knowledge.

  • Test your objectives
    Ask yourself if the objectives you’ve written align with your company’s overall goals, if the training they correspond to is enough for them to be achieved, and if they’re easy to understand by someone other than you.

Examples of training objectives

Here are some examples of training objectives that are specific to learners in your company:

  1. Recognize and respond to the 5 most common customer questions
    As a customer support specialist you will be trained on the most common customer questions and memorize the correct responses to them to be able to assist customers faster and more efficiently.

  2. Double the number of upsell opportunities proposed during customer consultations
    As a sales representative in the field you will learn how to identify upsell opportunities when consulting with customers, and how to effectively communicate the value of our products and services to increase your average deal size.

  3. Learn and implement techniques for securing your electronically stored data
    You will improve the overall security of your company laptop and/or phone by learning how to properly secure your electronically stored data and minimize the risk of breaches.

  4. Identify workplace hazards and report them correctly
    You will learn to spot hazards in the workplace, and how to correctly document and report them to decrease the overall risk of workplace injury to yourself and others.

Examples of training goals

Here are some examples of training goals. Each goal corresponds to the example training objectives above, and shows how those objectives contribute to the overall company training goal:

  1. Improve customer satisfaction rating
    By training all employees on the most common questions and complaints, the company’s overall rating should reach at least 4 stars by the end of the year.

  2. Increase upsell revenue by 25%
    By training sales representatives on how to identify and approach upsell opportunities with customers, the overall company revenue from upsells should increase.
  3. Improve overall company security
    By delivering cybersecurity training to all employees the security of the company’s data should improve and lead to fewer breaches.
  4. Decrease the number of workplace accidents
    By training all employees on workplace hazards and how to prevent them, the overall number of accidents on job sites should decrease.

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What are the 3 objectives of training?

The three objectives of training in an organization are:

  1. Help each member of your team perform their job roles effectively
  2. Improve overall performance
  3. Increase the organization’s ability to achieve its goals and targets
What are SMART objectives of training?

SMART objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound objectives that define what learners are expected to achieve by the end of a training program. SMART objectives help to ensure that the objectives are clear, measurable, and achievable.

From training objectives, to goals, to success

Setting clear training objectives is essential for any training program’s success. They provide learners with direction and focus, measure training effectiveness, and motivate learners to take ownership of their learning. Using the SMART framework will help you provide clarity and ensure that your objectives are aligned with your company’s overall goals. By setting clear and measurable objectives, you’ll improve the effectiveness of your training programs and help your whole team reach their fullest potential.

Key takeaways

  • Training objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound statements that define what learners are expected to achieve by the end of a training program.
  • Training goals describe the overall purpose or aim of the training program, while objectives are specific and measurable outcomes.
  • The purpose of setting training objectives is to provide direction and focus, measure training effectiveness, and motivate learners.
  • Effective training objectives should be aligned with your organization’s overall goals and objectives, use the SMART framework, and be simple and easy to understand.
  • Clear and measurable training objectives are essential for improving the effectiveness of training programs and achieving desired outcomes.