Here's how you can Set Learning Objectives & Measure the Results

Updated: Nov 14, 2019


Set Learning Objectives & Measure the Results

Many of the HR professionals I work with are frustrated because they can't really see the progress of their training and find it challenging to demonstrate results and get their department managers to 'buy into' future training.

I'd like to share some ideas on how we set goals and measure results at NextGen Corporate Language Training in Taiwan.

Using the S-M-A-R-T model is a great way to set the learning objectives, but of course having clear learning goals is only helpful if you measure the results. Using a competency-based training model is a great way to measure those results.


With the S-M-A-R-T model, your goals are:

Specific: Clearly state what the trainee will learn.

Measurable: Ensure the results can be measured.

Achievable: Trainees must believe the training objectives can be achieved

Realistic: Trainees must be able to achieve the objectives using the training.

Timely: The training must have a realistic timeframe.

Using this model helps you to make decisions about the learning content, about what your trainees must be able to do at the end of the training, and about how best to evaluate the results of the training.

Creating clear learning goals can be done in three steps:


Step 1 - Set Global Learning Goals

First clarify what trainees can do at the end of the course. Here is an example of a well-designed global learning goal. 'At the end of the course, the trainees will be able to proactively participate in business conference calls using professional English.'


Specific: Yes. It clearly states what the trainees must be able to do after the training.


Measurable: Yes. Trainees can be assessed on their ability using assessment rubrics.

Achievable: Yes. Trainees will accept this objective because it's achievable.

Realistic: Yes. The objective is realistic because it's specific.

Timely: Yes. The objective includes a time frame – ‘at the end of the course’.


Step 2 - Clarify the required performance level:

To design and deliver a training program it’s really important to define what level of performance the trainees must achieve at the end of the training. What level of business communication competence they must reach. Do you require complete mastery or basic competence?

Step 3 – Create specific training objectives:

Having decided on global learning objectives and clarified the required performance level, now create specific training objectives to provide more detail about these global learning goals.


Global Learning Goal:

After training the trainees will be able to proactively participate in business conference calls using professional English.

Specific training objectives:

At the end of this course, trainees will:

  • be able to use professional business English to politely and professionally interrupt; to ask questions and to make comments on a conference call

  • know how to use communication strategies and professional language to confirm and clarify information

  • be able to use communication strategies and professional language to deal with questions on a conference call

  • know how to use professional language to offer opinions; to express agreement and disagreement on a conference call

Competency-Based Assessment Rubric

You’ve set your learning objectives. You know the learning goals. You know the level of performance required and you know the detailed training objectives. Now you need a tool to measure the results.

Using a competency-based training model, means you can break down the behaviours and competencies into small measurable units. You can then create an assessment rubric that allows you to measure the results of your training in detail.

Below is an example of an assessment rubric we use when designing, delivering and measuring a presentation skills course.


In summary, the S-M-A-R-T model is great for setting goals, but is most effective in business communication training if it's used in combination with competency-based training.

Of course, you can only deliver this kind of training if you then create learning content that is focused on training for these competencies.

Thanks for reading. Brian


An example of part of a Competency-Based Assessment Rubric

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