In my post on creating course outlines, I wrote that two pages in any course should be the Purpose-Objectives-Goals (POG) page and the Summary page. That sounds simple enough, right? Well, maybe not…
What is the POG for a business training course? Is it the same as it would be for a university course? Does it come from the business case for delivering the training? Is it related to the mission of the business?
Let’s start with some assumptions:
- Business training differs from academic education (note the different uses of “training” and “education”).
- Academic education seeks to impart not just information to students, but to equip them to think about new scenarios, to integrate ideas, and to build upon their education as they experience life. This is done through a foundation of knowledge. We don’t simply learn that “2+2=4”, but why it’s so.
- Business training, while sometimes is for the sole enrichment of employees, is usually targeted to improve a business metric. Or, it is intended to be.
A while back, I wrote a post on assessing the effectiveness of business training. I have observed a huge gap between the intended or desired outcome of business training and what it actually delivers. My “hypothesis” (which I have empirical evidence to support) is that this gap exists because of three things:
- The lack of proper evaluation of training effectiveness
- The failure to align training objectives with business objectives
- The failure to create and deliver training to the objectives, if they had been aligned in the first place
The first item is discussed in the post; the third item is a deeper subject known as instructional design. This post addresses the second item, aligning training objectives with those of the business.
So, how do you align training goals and objectives with the goals and objectives of your business?
- First, understand your business goals and objectives. Where are your “problem areas”? What do you want to improve? Where do you want to reduce risk? Some likely business examples:
- prevent accidents
- reduce errors
- improve customer service
- improve efficiency
- reduce waste
- improve communication
- reduce time to market
- leverage knowledge
- protect intellectual property
- improve work environment (physical)
- improve quality of work (emotional)
- increase promotion opportunities
- increase market share
- reduce redundancy/confusion from department to department
- Second, understand to at least some degree, who in the organization can affect these goals. Your delivery driver might have a strong influence on several goals, but she isn’t going to have anything to do with reducing the time to market of a new product. A RACI chart would be a useful tool for this.
- Based on the RACI chart, decide what level of training should be provided to each position in topics aimed at achieving each goal. Bloom’s rose would be a great reference for this.
- Determine what those topics, tools, and methods are. You will need to seek the assistance of subject matter experts to accomplish this.
- Create a curriculum (map out all of the training).
- Write a POG for each course in that curriculum. Please note that the terminology can be highly variable.. I’ve seen many instances where Goals were defined as more general than Objectives. Still others use them interchangeably or use completely different terminology. It doesn’t matter. The important things are that you use the terminology consistently, in a manner that your students understand, and that these three words combine to define the scope of the course.
Purpose (a.k.a. Aim): These statements should be formulated with phrases similar to these: “to provide an overview of…”, “to provide the framework for…”, “an in-depth discussion of…”, “to advance the knowledge from Course 101”, “to apply knowledge to field examples in…”.
While Control Charts have a solid history of use in manufacturing, they are excellent tools for use in monitoring and controlling transactional processes as well. This course demonstrates the construction and use of control charts, providing both scenarios and corresponding example control charts.
(Learning) Objectives: These are essentially from Bloom’s categories (Cognitive domain) and more specific than the purpose of the course. There are usually a few objectives.
1. Explain the purpose and proper use of control charts.
2. Introduce the six basic types of control charts.
3. Provide examples of how control charts can help stop trends and identify potential problems in the processes.
Goals (a.k.a. Learning outcomes): SMART goals directly related to the objectives.
It is important that you leave this course knowing:
1. Which type of control chart is best suited to different situations.
2. How to construct and use a control chart.
3. How control charts fit into larger quality initiatives.
These examples are taken from the SPC 101 course at BeeLearn.com. They are not perfect. Yours probably won’t be, either. But, they are “good enough” to define the scope of the course, set expectations, and to build content around.
The Summary page of every course should tie back to the POG. The course exams and activities should be built in support of the POG. The content should be built to the POG. If you do this, you’ll have created a course that serves a purpose; to make your business stronger by providing training that is aligned with and effective at meeting your goals and objectives.
Tags: business alignment, business objectives, Business Training, e-learning, eLearning for Business, Instructional Design, purpose objectives goals, SMART goals, training alignment, training effectiveness