This is the first of a series of guidance notes that the Judicial Studies Board (JSB) Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) team will issue periodically on key training topics. The target audience for this guidance note is primarily aimed at training ‘professionals’, for example Justices’ Clerks, Legal Advisers and Training Managers. The note is written as a practical tool and provides working examples.
Why care about aims and objectives?
Aims and objectives are essential for designing effective training. Without understanding the purpose and expected results of the training, things can go badly wrong. If clearly defined aims and objectives are lacking, there is no sound basis for the selection or design of materials, content and methods. A clear statement of what is to be achieved through the training will provide a sound basis for choosing appropriate evaluation methods. In other words learners will know precisely in which direction they are travelling and trainers will know whether or not they are getting there. As a result evaluating training becomes a much easier process within the four main areas identified in the JSB M&E Evaluation Guidance (on the JSB M&E website).
Thus, aims and objectives play a vital role in planning:
• a training programme
• a course
• a short training event for individual learners
• evaluation methods.
Aims and objectives are often used loosely (and sometimes incorrectly) although they are very different. Other words are also used such as goals, purposes (rather like aims) and learning outcomes (similar to objectives). The terminology has become a minefield, but there is no need to get too bogged down in fine differences.
|Aim |Objective | | | | |An aim is a general statement of intent. It describes the direction in |An objective is a more specific statement about what the learner should, or| |which the learner will go in terms of what they might learn or what the |will be able to do, after the training experience. | |training will do. | |
Purpose of an aim
Aims are very important tools in the design, implementation, and evaluation of training. Simply put, an aim gives a general indication of what may be learnt and what the benefits are from attending the training. However, aims do not give any details or means of assessing whether the learning has been successful. Objectives are used for this purpose.
The qualities of well-formed learning objectives
Objectives are very important tools in the design, implementation, and evaluation of training. Simply put, a usefully stated objective is one that succeeds in communicating an intended result to the learner.
Unfortunately, there are many slippery words that are open to a wide range of interpretation when writing objectives.
Consider the following phrases in this light:
|Words open to many interpretations |Words open to fewer interpretations | |to know |to describe | |to understand |to state | |to appreciate |to sort | |to grasp the...