The 3 Objectives in Evaluating Learning Solutions

Talent Development professionals are constantly bombarded with emails, calls and chats from learning solution providers. The options provided can be quite diverse and many providers claim expertise in multiple categories. How then do we filter the ones that provide quality-learning solutions from those are merely great at marketing?

To understand the quality of a learning solution, it needs to be tested against 3 types of objectives. They are:

Cognitive Objective: What do you want a person to know?
Affective Objective: What do you want a person to think and care about?
Behavioural Objective: What do you want a person to be able to do?

It is imperative that all 3 objectives are present in a single learning solution. The failure of this, gives rise to 3 types of employee:

The Opinionated Employee
Opinions of trainers or dominant participants form the basis of discussions in learning solutions that are without proper cognitive objectives. While opinions can be based off experience, we also know that each experience is unique and cannot be used as learning theories. Proper cognitive objectives provide participants with solid concepts, models and processes that are applicable in various context of work. Danger arises when employees value opinions as basis of action without doing checks on relevant theory. This makes the learnings unreliable for it could not be replicated consistently across similar situations.

The Compliant Employee
Once a participant learns truth from a theory (cognitive objective), ideas will begin to form. However, learning solutions without affective objectives do not provide the opportunity for participants to nurture their own ideas – a crucial step for ownership. A lot of training focuses only on theory and then straight into action steps. If employees do not create and own their ideas, we will have an organization filled with compliant workers. Such an organization will find it impossible to innovate because great ideas are collaborative in nature – as it requires many people to contribute and refine it collectively at all levels.

The Hesitant Employee
The final objective of an effective learning solution is to provide an avenue where participants can test out their ideas. The iterative process of trying out ideas and improving them helps to validate their ideas. When the ideas become refined, this will lead to sustainability as participants are confident to apply it in the working environment. Without an ecosystem to test out ideas, employees remain hesitant as they would deem it too risky to try out unproven ideas in the real life working environment. Whatever that has been learned will unfortunately remain in the classroom, which wastes the resource and effort of the company.

The next time we evaluate a learning solution, test it against the 3 objectives and these questions. What do you want a person to know? What do you want a person to think or care about? What do want a person to be able to do? With this, you will be able to source out the best learning solution for your employees. 

Call to Action

We design simulations to ensure the key learnings are applied back into the workplace by providing key learning theories, providing the space for participants to gain ownership of their learning as well as giving them the space to practice the skills. We strive to combine all 3 objectives because we want effective learning solutions for our clients. Contact us to learn how! 

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