When we design a new training program or workshop, one of the first steps is to determine the learning objectives. In other words, what strings will the learners be adding to their bow over the course of the learning experience?

Having clear and concrete objectives from the start will foster a higher level of receptivity among learners. As a result, they’ll have a better understanding of the purpose of the skills development activities. They’ll know what is expected of them and what they’ll be able to do by the end of the training.

When formulating a learning objective, we recommend choosing an action verb that reflects the topic’s level of complexity. For example, you can use verbs like identify, describe or name to describe simple actions associated with memorization. Verbs such as compare, interpret or differentiate can be used to target more complex skills. Finally, to indicate that a high level of understanding is needed to apply the knowledge, you can formulate your objectives using action verbs like demonstrate, execute and solve.

Infographic teaching how to chose action verbs

The following are examples of concrete pedagogical objectives that are relevant to training contexts:

  1. New employee training on the structure of an organization (memorization): “Identify the components of a given role and differentiate the role’s various responsibilities.”
  2. Training on a change in procedure in a company (understanding): “Choose the appropriate procedure according to the context and interpret the data in the new report format.”
  3. Training for the development of a new skill (application): “Determine the steps to follow in a specific situation and produce a follow-up report.”

Choosing specific action verbs to define the training objectives will also facilitate the next steps, resulting in what is called “constructive alignment”, where there is consistency between the objectives, content, learning activities and evaluation methods of the training.

Here are some other advantages to using action verbs:

Infographic teaching how to chose action verbs

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Our design team will work with you to select objectives that are tailored to your needs, allowing you to achieve the ideal learning curve in your skills development programs and activities. Using action verbs to develop your learning objectives creates the best possible conditions for reaching your goals, and can thus play a key role in the success of your training program.