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The three kinds of learning objectives

Category: HRM

Training aims for the three possible outcomes:

— the acquisition of facts and data (knowledge)

— the ability to perform certain acts (know-how)

-the capacity for attitudinal and behaviour change (outlook)


— Knowledge: On completion of the training session, participants can articulate the difference between knowledge, know-how and outlook.

— Know-how:

— On completion of the training exercise, participants are able to outline a written report on an economic or monetary topic.

— On completion of the seminar, participants are able to use specific teaching methods and techniques.

— Outlook:

— On completion of three days’ training, participants know how to conduct a training session.

— On completion if the course, participants can make changes in their management style as required by the situational or transactional context.

Obviously, the proportion of each type of “learning” will vary from one training situation to another. It is important not to overemphasise the “knowledge” component when training adults, because:

— further training should be clearly distinguished from academic, school-based learning (its goals are different),

— the amount of time available is limited,

— knowledge divorced from know-how is quickly lost, etc.

The refinement of learning objectives in terms of knowledge, know-how and outlook is essential and should greatly facilitate the planning of courses and the choice of instructional methods and techniques.

How to detect the training needs and determine training objectives?

Identifying training objectives

In drawing up an analysis of job specifications, past performance, critical success factors, current or foreseeable changes, etc., it may be desirable to use the following techniques:

— discussions at relevant management level (i. e., those in charge “ordering” training),

— discussions with trainees… and examiners… regarding successes and/or failures,

— analysis of tests and reports,

— surveys (via questionnaire),

— brainstorming sessions (among trainers).

How to formulate training objectives?

Formulating training objectives

Training objectives ought to be defined as precisely as possible. The first step is to draw up a list of outcomes that the training should ideally produce. These goals are then classified (ranked) in a coherent, logical and structured order.

Training objectives are well formulated when:

— they have been defined in terms of expected on-the-job professional performance, once the training is completed,

— required performance levels are based on observable data,

— The learning attitudes and know-how that are being targeted are, in fact, crucial to the exercise of the profession in question, such that if acquired through training, work performance is guaranteed,

— the training “sponsor” (funding body) has been consulted on, and has agreed to the choice of the objectives.

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