ATD Blog

Let’s Talk About Learning Objectives

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

How many of us have read a learning objective and yawned and turned the page? I bet there are quite a few of us.

According to Nikki O’Keeffe, who facilitates ATD’s Essentials of Writing Impactful Learning Objectives, the problem is that many people—both L&D practitioners and learners—consider them a simple, check-the-box necessity. But they don’t really know why they need learning objectives. I recently spoke with her about what participants can expect from this important learning experience.

Well-written learning objectives need to be compelling for learners and managers. For starters, they need to tell your learners what you want them to know and do—clearly and concisely. What’s more, O’Keeffe says that objectives should be something that learners “can use as leverage to tell their managers that they should take this training because, at the end, they will be able to walk with the new skill.”


Learning objects also let managers, leaders, and organizations know how to gage an employee’s progress toward that knowledge and skill. In other words, learning objectives need actionable, measurable items.


This is easier said than done, of course. To learn practical, easy-to-use techniques for writing learning objectives that are behavior-focused and measurable, join Nikki at the next Essentials of Writing Impactful Learning Objectives. You will review methods that show you why your objectives matter and how tying them to learning outcomes supports learning goals. You also will get feedback from your facilitator and peers as you practice crafting objectives for one of your upcoming projects.

Listen to the complete podcast to learn what else you can expect from this ATD online course.

About the Author

Amanda Smith is the former Learning & Development Community of Practice manager at the Association for Talent Development (ATD). Her specialties include educational planning, PR/marketing, and project management. Amanda has more than 12 years of experience in the non-profit sector, developing and marketing professional development programs for the adult learner.

Amanda brings a diverse and unique perspective on program development. She has worked for companies in healthcare, foodservice, commercial real-estate, and media industries, including the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP), International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA), Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), and the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation (NABEF). 

She also serves as president and spokesperson for the Alliance for Women in Media, National Capital Area Chapter (AWM-NCAC) in Washington, D.C.  She resides in the D.C. Metro area with her husband and two children.

Be the first to comment
Sign In to Post a Comment
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.