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Philip & Philip

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Philip & Philip (2008) state that learning objectives are attributes based on learning, knowledge measuring, and the acquisition of skills. They give a clear picture of what the trainees are expected to perform after the process of training and development (Caravan, et al., 1997).  It is anticipated that participants ought to understand and apply what is learnt on a given state or condition (Phillips & Phillips, 2008). As the participant moves to the high level objectives, changes in their role and behaviour occur.

Models of learning help to explain the importance and function of learning objectives in the Learning, and Development process. The following models have been used; Bloom’s Taxonomy, Behavioural analysis model, and Cramp model of learning.

Bloom’s Taxonomy

It was developed in 1956 under the leadership of Benjamin Bloom (Moore & Stanley, 2010). It identified three domains of learning: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor (Moore & Stanley, 2010). Cognitive is knowledge based, effective is emotional focused, and psychomotor is skills – based. Cognitive domain contains six levels of knowledge: comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. The order is from the lowest to the highest. The lowest level is named one, and the last level - six. The learning objectives to be evaluated are recalling, comprehending, recognizing and identifying. These objectives fall under the cognitive domain. Recalling is considered under the level of knowledge which is level one. Comprehending is categorised as level two. Recognizing falls under the level of knowledge. Finally, identifying is categorised under levels of knowledge, analysis, comprehension, and application.

Behavioural analysis model by Rackham and Morgan

This model utilizes observation method to monitor the use of a process or a skill during training and development (Caravan, et al., 1997). This is done by an expert who has sharp observational skills. The expert documents every detail as the process of training and development gets underway (Caravan, et al., 1997). The details are useful in various functions such as correcting mistakes.

Cramp model of learning

It is an acronym which stands for Comprehension, Reflex action, Attitude, Memorisation, and Procedural learning (Malone, 2003). These skills are used for on – the – job learning. Comprehension domain advocates that participants need to recognize and appreciate how the business operates, and how the economy works (Malone, 2003). The reflex domain suggests that an employee should learn skills in the job activities (Malone, 2003). The attitude domain enables one to understand how an organization conducts business and treats both the staff and customers (Malone, 2003). In the domain of memorisation, employees need to recall the names of fellow staff, customers and business features (Malone, 2003). The domain of procedural learning requires employees to be aware of how the organization’s processes, policies, procedures, and systems work (Malone, 2003).

Importance of learning objectives in the Learning and Development process

  • Learning objectives justify the reasons for selecting a specific content and training methodology (Caravan, et al., 1997). Additionally, the process of training and development is made effective because every detail is recorded by specialists (Caravan, et al., 1997).
  • Learning objectives enable managers to recognize and appreciate how the business operates, and how the economy works (Malone, 2003). They will be capable of understanding the interaction among the departments in the organization. This knowledge enables them to make appropriate decisions, and develop effective solutions to the problems.
  • Learners are motivated to acquire a greater ownership of the process of learning (Caravan, et al., 1997).
  • The results of the evaluating learning objectives reflect the true abilities of the learner (Caravan, et al., 1997). This is possible because the learner is not aware that he is being observed hence he cannot exaggerate his capacities.
  • They provide criteria for appraising the impact which the training and development had on a learner (Caravan, et al., 1997).
  • They communicate the aims of training and development (Caravan, et al., 1997).
  • They are critical in the development of curricula, programmes, and instructions for content knowledge especially Broom’s (Harmon & Stokes, 2005). The methods of learning are also incorporated.
  • Learning objectives helps the managers and employees to identify errors, and problems in the organization (Malone, 2003). Their importance can also be extended in drawing relationships between or among organizations ways of doing business.
  • The process of training and development is made effective because every detail is recorded by specialists (Caravan, et al., 1997).

Functions of learning objectives in the Learning and Development process

      The learning objectives enable the learner to memorize and recall facts (Weil & Kincheloe, 2004). In an organization; they can help employee to recall the names of fellow staff, customers and need to memorise prices, rules, codes, safety regulations, and organization’s policies (Malone, 2003).

      Learning objectives related with comprehension needs help a learner to memorize and recall facts (Weil & Kincheloe, 2004). They assess the ability of an employee to explain and summarize a problem in his own words. In addition, the employee is able to describe the steps for conducting a complex activity. For example, if the company’s profits are declining, a manager is able to explain the reasons and formulate a remedy.

      Some of the learning objectives enable learners to solve problems in new situations by applying the rules, knowledge, facts and techniques learnt (Moore & Stanley, 2010). For instance, supervisors will utilize appraisal techniques to rate employees effectively. They can also study suitable business practices from competitors and effectively implement them.

      Some learning objectives build analytical skills that help a learner to separate information into its constituent components so as to interpret its underlying causes and motives (Moore & Stanley, 2010). It permits a departmental manager to collect information from the department, and identify the gaps that need training.

      Some learning objectives build an innovative mind in a learner. This empowers the learner to create a new structure or propose substitute solutions through combining various elements (Moore & Stanley, 2010). An example is formulating new strategic plans or producing a unique product.

      They facilitate the learners to acquire evaluation abilities that allow them to assess the effectiveness of whole concepts, and make judgement (Moore & Stanley, 2010). This will lead to the creation of an effective solution. For example, the personnel manager will be able to recruit the most qualified candidate. A finance manager would be capable of explaining and defending a proposed budget.

Disadvantages of learning objectives in the Learning and Development process

  • Numerous results have found that some learning objectives in the learning models are lacking (Martin & Briggs, 1986).The results of most practical studies of the underlying assumptions of these models have been lacking (Martin & Briggs, 1986). The descriptors of the categories are mental rather than observable. This renders the intended learning objectives difficult to measure (Martin & Briggs, 1986).  Therefore, objectives set for certain needs may be unrealisable.  
  • It is costly and time consuming because the emphasis is on skills, which may take long to be acquired (Weightman, 2004). The costs involved are high.
  • Learning is approached by breaking down the tasks into simpler components, and even further (Weightman, 2004). This may make a simpler task to appear complicated.
  • Learning does not necessarily translate to rewards (Weightman, 2004). For instance, if an employee learns how to operate a certain machine, the benefits that are received are likely to remain the same.

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