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How to Kick Start Your Project Plan with Learning Objectives
By Ben Snyder, CEO of Systemation

A learning objective describes what training participants should know or be able to do at the end of a project management training course that they couldn’t do before. Learning objectives are related to a participant’s performance. Each individual learning objective should support the overarching benefits (goals) of the course, that is, the thread that unites all the topics to be covered and the skills participants should have mastered by the end of the course.

There are many different models for writing learning objectives. A simple, yet effective approach focuses on objectives that speak to the knowledge and skills training participants will learn in the class:

  • Each objective usually starts with a verb and is specific in scope.
  • Each learning objective must be measurable through some form of assessment.

Developing a Training Course – It’s a Project

The funny thing is that developing a training course is very much a project. Projects are temporary endeavors undertaken to create a unique product or service. The development of a training course is just that.

All projects require the creation of project plans before work on the project commences. Within these project plans are project objectives. For a project that is responsible for developing a training course the learning objectives are the project objectives.

Included in the project plan is the project’s:

  • Description

    Briefly summarize what the project is embarking on. Write this from the perspective of before the project has started.

  • Benefits

    Describe what the project is fulfilling. What is the project expected to achieve? This is often also called the goal. Write this from the perspective of after the project is completed.

  • Objectives

    Record your learning objectives just like they are described above.

  • Deliverable

    List all the items that are produced while the project is being executed. Deliverables include not only the final project but also items along the way. For a training course this could include:

    • workbooks
    • facilitator manuals
    • slides
    • assessments
    • modules
    • outlines
    • time and event documents
  • Stakeholders

    List all the individuals who have a vested interest in the project completion. The stakeholder list often includes:

    • Individuals who have a say in what the training should accomplish.
    • Individuals who will be attending the course.
    • Individuals who will be paying for the course.
  • Approach

    Describe the methodology that will be followed to develop the course. In most course development projects this would be the ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, implementation, and Evaluation) methodology. However, there are a number of other methodologies gaining in popularity.

  • Milestones

    Record the completion dates for each of the phases (these phases could be ADDIE). Remember, milestones are important because they indicate the progress of the project.

  • Resources

    List all the individuals required to complete the project. There may only be one individual contributing but there may also be subject matter experts (SMEs) as well. It all depends on the size of the project. Also list any cash that has to be spent to make the project happen.

That’s it. With great learning objectives and a detailed project plan you have a good chance of achieving success. You’re on a roll now. Make it happen!

Ben Snyder is the CEO of Systemation, (, a project management, business analysis, and agile development training and consulting company that has been training professionals since 1959. Systemation is a results-driven training and consulting company that maximizes the project-related performance of individuals and organizations. Known for instilling highly practical, immediately usable processes and techniques, Systemation has proven to be an innovative agent of business transformation for many government entities and Fortune 2000 companies, including Verizon Wireless, Barclays Bank, Mattel, The Travelers Companies, Bridgestone, Amgen, Wellpoint and Whirlpool.

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