What is the key element of designing training?
It may just appear as a bulletted list at the beginning of a course, but learning outcomes are the key to developing good training. I know it’s painful to look at a blank page or screen and articulate, at the end of this course participants are going to be able to …
Taking the time to work through this and define your outcomes makes the rest of the design process much easier!
The benefits of writing learning outcomes first are:
- They can be reviewed and approved by the stakeholders
- The method of evaluation (testing) will be obvious
- Assist with the identification of topics and sub-topics
- Give clues on effective exercises to facilitate learning
- Prevent scope creep (adding topics and content which are outside of the scope of this training)
- Focus the design and development
Rule number 1 of writing learning outcomes is they must be MEASURABLE. How are the participants going to show the instructor they have met the outcome? This means outcomes never start with the words “know” or “understand”. The participants will demonstrate they know or understand the content by doing what? Being with a verb such as, state, outline, list, demonstrate, analyze, assess, perform, describe, or discuss. Then state what will be achieved. For example, list the reasons for writing learning outcomes at the beginning of the course design process.
This is certainly not the sexiest part of instructional design, but it is the component that rewards you for doing the hard work up front. Learning outcomes are the foundation of sound course design.