Many of us will be familiar with the SMART way of writing goals. Some people like to use this process when writing their learning objectives, so it is a good idea to become skilled at it.

The following table tells us what the parts of SMART mean, and how we can use it to develop a learning objective.

SSpecificIs our learning objective very clear?
MMeasurableIs our intended learning able to be measured?
AAchievableIs our learning objective able to be achieved by learners?
RRelevantIs our learning objective needed by our client and learners?
TTime LimitedIs our learning objective going to be limited to a set time frame?

Some people swear by this way of writing Learning Objectives. You can make your own choice.

If we look at our example Learning Objective from above, then we can see that using the SMART approach may have some benefits:

Our Objective:


Our learner will be able to demonstrate how to safely make a cup of coffee that tastes satisfactory.
Is our learning objective very clear?YES
Is our intended learning able to be measured?YES
Is our learning objective able to be achieved by learners?YES
Is our learning objective needed by our client and learners?YES
Is our learning objective going to be limited to a set time frame?NO

In our coffee example, using the SMART approach tells us that our learning objective is not time limited. If this is important – which it often is – then we can rewrite our objective to include an element of time:

Our learner will be able to demonstrate how to safely make a cup of coffee that tastes satisfactory. This will be demonstrated one week following training.

Once we have a clear learning objective, we can really start to focus on how we can train people to do this (LINK).

Information in this section relates to:
Question 20 of Short Answer Questions 1