Are your learning goals and outcomes showing their age? Is your online training ROI on the decline? In this article, Christopher Pappas highlights eight warning signs that your learning objectives are out of date.
8 Tell-Tale Signs that Your Learning Objectives are Out-of-Date
Learning objectives act as the backbone of your online training initiatives. They help to define favorable behaviors and ensure that you get a good return on your investment. As is the case with every aspect of your online training course, learning goals and objectives require some upkeep. The key is conducting frequent training checkups and recognizing the symptoms. The following eight indicators tell you whether it’s time to rethink your outdated learning objectives.
1. Online Learners Aren’t Achieving the Desired Outcomes
Learning objectives need constant upkeep to remain intact. Otherwise, they may start to lack relevance or fail to provide corporate learners with a clear direction, especially when they are gradually chipped away at over time to accommodate evolving training needs instead of being completely overhauled. For example, you substitute certain skill sets for others or omit a sentence from a learning objectives statement in order to adapt to current training needs. As a result, corporate learners are unable to focus their attention on a clear, concise outcome. They don’t know what’s expected of them or how to use online training to achieve it.
2. Diminishing Online Training Returns
This is a direct result of the first indicator. Corporate learners are unable to achieve the outcomes, which translates into a lower online training ROI. You’re still investing resources into the online training program, but aren’t achieving the desired results. You may even be investing your time and energy into online training materials that are no longer viable simply because they’re still centered on out-of-date learning objectives that are flawed. Updating your learning objectives enables you to allocate online training resources more effectively and devote your attention to crucial training pain points, thereby improving the return on your investment.
3. Online Training Resources Lack Cohesion
Online training materials have been updated to reflect organizational changes but learning goals have remained frozen in time. Thus, online training resources lack cohesion because there isn’t a clear learning objective upon which to focus your design and development efforts. They might still impart vital knowledge and skills, but not necessarily the ones that you are trying to hone through your online training program. Another side effect of this is learner confusion. They aren’t sure of the benefits or what they need to do to complete the online training course. Thus, corporate learners are more likely to drop out or disengage.
4. Corporate Learners are Unable to Move from Theory to Practice
One of the cornerstones of effective learning objectives is the real-world application. Describe how corporate learners can use what they learn to achieve practical goals or overcome common obstacles. They keep these targeted learning objectives in mind whilst completing the online training course, which allows them to concentrate on the task at hand with a clear purpose. Out-of-date learning objectives prevent them from moving from theory to practice and actually applying the information in a realistic context, such as completing tasks or using skills and knowledge to solve problems.
5. Lack Of Learner Motivation And Engagement
Aimlessly wandering through the online training experience with no destination causes frustration and boredom. Some corporate learners may even feel a sense of anxiety or panic because they aren’t sure where to focus their energy on. This translates into an overall lack of motivation. In addition, corporate learners are less likely to engage with the online training content, as there is no relevant purpose or reasoning behind it. Updated learning objectives give them an aim so that they know how to progress and why they need to actively participate.
6. Learning Objectives no Longer Resonate with Modern Learners
Chances are, the learning objectives you developed five years ago no longer apply to your organization. In some cases, learning objective statements from a month ago have already reached their expiration date. There are always new skill and knowledge gaps to consider, and the needs of your corporate learners evolve over time. Another tell-tale sign that it’s time to reevaluate your learning objectives is that you’ve lost touch with modern learners. Your learning objectives do not reflect situations or challenges that they encounter in their everyday lives. As such, they aren’t able to connect with the online training content and get the information they require. It’s a domino effect, all stemming from stale learning objectives that catered to past learners.
7. No Way to Measure Success
You need a way to monitor the efficacy of your online training course and track learner progress. Outdated learning objectives often lack effective criteria so that you can measure success. The secret is having assessment and evaluation protocols in place so that you can gauge learner performance and define expectations. L&D managers and corporate learners, alike, are aware of how they can achieve success as it’s defined by your organization. Learning objectives should also be accompanied by a current list of online training resources that help them get there.
8. Ambiguity Leading from Point A to B
Corporate learners must have a clear idea of how to achieve the learning objectives, including milestones. One of the most common warning signs that your learning objectives are out of date are vague descriptors or secondary goals. The learning objective clearly states what’s expected of the corporate learner, but not what they can expect from the online training course in order to achieve it. For this reason, you need to provide corporate learners with signposts that lead them to the desired outcome. Tell them exactly what they need to know to accomplish the learning objectives even if that means creating a bullet list of sub-tasks and goals.
Use this article as a guide to evaluate your learning objectives and bring them up to date. Give corporate learners guideposts to follow and specify how they can achieve the desired outcomes with the online training resources provided. You may also need to conduct a training needs analysis so that you can identify current training gaps that call for brand new learning objectives.
Effective learning objectives are easy to track. Read the article 6 Tips To Write Measurable Learning Objectives For Online Training to discover 6 top tips that can help you create learning objectives that are targeted and trackable.