11 Things To Know About Setting Training Program Goals

Smart program directors understand the value of goal-setting when setting up a successful online training program. Unfortunately, setting goals for training is difficult. You must look inside your program and understand both how it works and how your trainees are best motivated.

The following items can help you look at goal-setting from a different point of view, which will be better for your program.

1. Goals must be SMART

When you're setting goals and objectives for training, use the SMART mnemonic to make sure you're creating the best quality ones that you can actually track. Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. (Read more about SMART goals.)

2. It's OK if you don't reach your goals

Even if you don't hit every mark, your training program might still be a success. So you trained only 300 people rather than 400. That could still be a remarkable achievement. When you don't reach your goals, it could mean that they were unrealistic, or maybe the gains you made were enough.

3. Goals motivate behavior

One of the great benefits of setting goals is it will motivate your team to achieve them. This goes for the administrators, instructors and for the students. Creating goals that involve your entire team--and then sharing them with everyone--will help everyone work to achieve them.

4. Difficult goals are better than easy ones

While training program goals should be attainable (refer to the SMART acronym above), they should still be challenging. Strive to train 25% more people. Have participants prepare a sample document rather than reading one. Stretching a little further than everyone thinks they can will make everyone rise to the occasion.

5. Know the difference between a goal and outcome

Understanding the difference between a goal and an outcome can help you set up a successful education strategy. A goal is more general and refers to the knowledge, skill or behavior someone is working toward. An outcome is more specific and refers to a task to be completed. A goal is to improve knowledge of emergency preparedness, but an outcome is to successfully respond to an emergency situation 30% faster than the previous average.

6. Work with stakeholders for success

Uninvolved stakeholders can kill an online training program because they simply don't care about it. Bring in the whole team early to work out measurable objectives, because you may discover important details about their assumptions and requirements than you first did, and they'll be more interested in outcomes.

7. Ground your goals

Goals are easiest to achieve when they make sense with your overall mission, vision and strategic direction. Making sure an online training strategy fits in with your overall training strategy will also eliminate redundancies and allow you to pull from a wider range of resources.

8. Set baselines

Instead of pulling goals out of the ether, build on your past achievements. What have employees learned over the past few years? How much have you spent on training in the past? Set a baseline of where you are right now so you can measure results and have a better idea if your program has been worth it.

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