How to Set SMART Goals for Online Learning

The new year is prime time for new goals and resolutions. But when it comes to your staff’s professional development, that’s easier said than done. If you’re embarking on a new remote training plan — or even if you’re picking up where you left off last year —, it pays to set some SMART goals for online learning.

Here’s how to set goals your staff will actually achieve.

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How to Motivate Your Staff with SMART goals for Online Learning

Coming off the rough couple of years we’ve just experienced, and still hesitant to claim victory, it may be hard to get your staff on board with yet another responsibility. But as the health industry keeps evolving, continuing education is the one asset you’ll always find value in. Plus, the world won’t stop spinning — you’ve got to keep moving with it.

Aspects like bureaucracy, unclear scopes of practice, and the complicated nature of healthcare–especially for marginalized communities–leave many healthcare agencies feeling overloaded and like it’s hard too to set professional development and learning goals.

Setting smart goals for online learning is the best way to build a skilled team to support your community.

Research Required Training

The first step in setting a smart goal for online learning as a supervisor or manager is to find out what’s required. You might need to complete regular training in topics like sexual harassment or unconscious bias.

When you’re planning training for your staff, find out what’s required for their position and make it easy for them to complete. Then, build on that solid base with specialized training that fits the needs of your community or what you want to do. Set meetings with your staff regularly to review these goals, maybe every three months or twice a year, to discuss these options and offer support.

Continuous education and training will help you retain staff and improve your services. Read on for more ideas about setting defining training goals for your employees, and also review what a training needs analysis requires.

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5 key aspects of setting SMART goals for online learning

  1. Identify what areas in your community need the most support.
  2. Research certificates or training your state requires for staff positions.
  3. Work with each team member to discover their professional goals.
  4. Develop a system to measure your SMART learning goals.
  5. Provide constructive feedback and support.

1. Identify what areas in your community need the most support.

Many public health departments work closely with underserved communities and families with little to no access to basic health care. Your agency has the opportunity to address the unique challenges your community is facing and help citizens overcome these barriers.

When setting smart learning goals for your staff, keep in mind:

  • The medical conditions of clients who most need it, such as those who access the ER often.
  • Employer or certifying bodies’ requirements.
  • The specific needs of those in your community, such as through a community health needs assessment.

Assessing these community needs will give you a better understanding of the problems you can address, such as diabetes or heart disease. Or it might reveal a need for more general skills such as advocacy, help navigating health insurance, transportation, or language services.

2. Research certificates or training your state requires for staff positions.

Your SMART goals should align with your organization’s needs for online training. Whether this includes certified training or reevaluations, you’ll want to start there before committing to a program.

Your agency’s HR department likely has information about specific certifications required in an employee’s job. Start there. But also look at requirements that would empower your staff to do more and make it easier to hire from within.

3. Work with each team member to discover their professional goals.

Professional development is one of the most effective retention strategies for employees. By aligning your SMART goals with your employees’ goals, you’re giving them the opportunity to grow and feel satisfied and supported within your organization.

Some good employees never consider their job as a long-term career or a steppingstone within your organization. If you find out what your staff’s professional goals are early on, you can help them, build loyalty, and improve engagement along the way.

4. Develop a system to measure your SMART goals for online learning.

Once you’ve worked with your staff to more or less define their career aspirations, it’s time to clearly outline those goals and create an action plan.

The SMART goal system stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based (or time-bound).

An example of a SMART goal for online learning is:

Contact my local authority to request the certification requirements before registration for the Core Competencies course closes for this quarter.

5. Provide constructive feedback and support.

Many workforce members complete online training successfully, but then they are at a loss about using their new skills. This requires opportunity and feedback from you. Create a culture in your staff that encourages honest and open feedback. This can feel awkward, but it’s essential to build in this kind of feedback regularly to earn a solid ROI on your training and staff investment.

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