Aims & Objectives for training Introduction This is the first of a series of guidance notes that the Judicial Studies Board (JSB) Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) team will issue periodically on key training topics. The target audience for this guidance note is primarily aimed at training ‘professionals’, for example Justices’ Clerks, Legal Advisers and Training Managers. The note is written as a practical tool and provides working examples. Why care about aims and objectives? Aims and objectives are essential for designing effective training.
Without understanding the purpose and expected results of the training, things can go badly wrong. If clearly defined aims and objectives are lacking, there is no sound basis for the selection or design of materials, content and methods. A clear statement of what is to be achieved through the training will provide a sound basis for choosing appropriate evaluation methods. In other words learners will know precisely in which direction they are travelling and trainers will know whether or not they are getting there.
As a result evaluating training becomes a much easier process within the four main areas identified in the JSB M&E Evaluation Guidance (on the JSB M&E website). Thus, aims and objectives play a vital role in planning: • a training programme • a course • a short training event for individual learners • evaluation methods. Tackling terminology Aims and objectives are often used loosely (and sometimes incorrectly) although they are very different. Other words are also used such as goals, purposes (rather like aims) and learning outcomes (similar to objectives).
The terminology has become a minefield, but there is no need to get too bogged down in fine differences. |Aim |Objective | | | | |An aim is a general statement of intent.
It describes the direction in |An objective is a more specific statement about what the learner should, or| |which the learner will go in terms of what they might learn or what the |will be able to do, after the training experience. | |training will do. | | Purpose of an aim Aims are very important tools in the design, implementation, and evaluation of training. Simply put, an aim gives a general indication of what may be learnt and what the benefits are from attending the training.
However, aims do not give any details or means of assessing whether the learning has been successful. Objectives are used for this purpose. The qualities of well-formed learning objectives Objectives are very important tools in the design, implementation, and evaluation of training. Simply put, a usefully stated objective is one that succeeds in communicating an intended result to the learner. Unfortunately, there are many slippery words that are open to a wide range of interpretation when writing objectives. Consider the following phrases in this light: Words open to many interpretations |Words open to fewer interpretations | |to know |to describe | |to understand |to state | |to appreciate |to sort | |to grasp the significance of |to solve | What is meant by, to know something? Does it mean learners have to recite, or to solve or to read aloud to a group? The word in itself can mean different things to people.
Until the definition is understood in terms of what learners ought to be able to DO, very little has been said. A well-formed learning objective contains all of the following elements. • Performance. An objective always says what a learner is expected to do and must be measurable; the objective sometimes describes the product or result of the doing (for example to make a presentation, state the actions to take). Words such as state, describe, list, compare, and explain all describe things that people might do. • Conditions. An objective always describes the important conditions (if any) under which the performance is to occur (for example with reference to the course notes, in the court environment). • Criterion.
Wherever possible, an objective describes the criterion of acceptable performance by describing how well the learner must perform in order to be considered acceptable (for example correctly, accurately, according to the Adult Court Bench Book). The Framework of Standards for Magistrate Training and Development refers explicitly to aims and objectives at stages 2:1 and 2:2. Example of an aim and a well-formed learning objective Bearing this in mind, let’s examine an existing aim and objective from the Magistrates National Training Initiative (MNTI2) core training materials, to see whether this meets the definition of an aim and the qualities of a well-formed learning objective. It is also important to look closely at the style of writing and how this comes across to the learner. Example of an aim Existing aim |Revised aim | | | | |To provide an overview of the training and development framework for |To provide an overview of the training and development framework, in order to | |magistrates. |equip you with the knowledge and understanding of the purpose of the Magistrates| | |National Training Initiative (MNTI). | | | | | |The aim now gives an indication of how learners might benefit from this module. | | | | |When writing an aim that a delegate will read, try try and use an “enabling | | |voice” | | |(e. g. ‘in order to equip you…. ’ rather than ‘for magistrates’). This expresses | | |an aim in a more personal manner. | Example of a well-formed learning objective Existing objective |Revised objective | | | | |By the end of the session, delegates will be able to: |Key code | | | | |explain in outline the six key qualities required of a magistrate, the |The objective is coded for ease of reference. | |undertaking, and the judicial oath. | | | |- Performance is in bold | | |- Condition is underlined | | |- Criterion is in italics. | | | | | | | |By the end of the session, you will be able to: | | | | | |describe, accurately, using your Induction Pack the six key qualities | | |required of a magistrate, the undertaking, and the judicial oath. | | | | |When writing an objective that a delegate will read try and use an | | |“enabling voice” | | |(e. g. ‘you will be able to …. ’ rather than ‘delegates will be able to …. ’). | | |This expresses an objective in a more personal manner. |
Other examples of aims and well-formed learning objectives are provided at Annex 1. Practical tips • Always spend time considering what the aim and objectives of the training are before designing the programme. In this way well written aims and objectives will help to provide a sound basis for identifying the purpose, content and learning methods required. They will also be key in evaluating whether the training has been successful. See Framework of Standards for Magistrate Training and Development. • Think of objectives in terms of the outcome of the training, that is what do you want the learner to differently as a result of attending the training? Use a checklist (example at Annex 2) to see whether performance, condition and criterion are included in all learning objectives. If the condition and criterion apply to all of the objectives, consider including these in the stem sentence for the objectives (for example ‘By the end of the session you will, with the use of your handouts, be able to correctly:’). • Constantly refer to the aims and objectives when designing materials/exercises and ensure that learners are fully aware of them throughout the event. • Refer specifically to the aims and objectives when designing evaluation methods. You can find detailed guidance in the JSB M&E Evaluation Guidance on the JSB M&E website. Further information
If you would like the JSB M&E team to provide additional support or advice on this topic (for example quality assurance of existing Area training materials) please do not hesitate to contact Peter Robinson, Monitoring & Evaluation Manager – tel: 0113 200 5131 or email peter. [email protected] gsi. gov. uk. References Preparing Instructional Objectives, RF Mager (1991) ISBN -0-8224-4341-4 The Complete Learning Evaluation Toolkit, Frances & Roland Bee (2000) ISBN –0-85292-871-8 Aims, objectives and learning outcomes, Training the trainer resource pack www. archive-skills. com Aims & Objectives, Scottish Council for Postgraduate Medical Dental Education, EA Hesketh & JM Laidlaw JSB Magistrates National Training Initiative (MNTI) Core Training Materials JSB M&E website www. jsboard. co. uk/mande/index. html Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development www. cipd. co. uk Annex 1 Example 1
Aim: To introduce the concepts of judicial decision-making, bias and fairness so that you understand and apply these principles in court. Key code The objectives are coded for ease of reference. |- Performances are in bold | |- Conditions are underlined | |- Criteria are in italics. | Objectives: By the end of the session, you will be able to: • describe using suggestions from within syndicate groups, three reasons for, and elements of, the structured decision making process, as outlined in your pre-course reading pack • name correctly five different types of question style, without using your course notes summarise accurately, by reference to your pre-course reading pack, the concepts of bias, impartiality and fairness as applied in the magistrates’ court. Note: These are only illustrative examples. Annex 1 (cont’d) Example 2 Aim: To explain the concept of case management and the role you play; and to identify and explore the key preliminary stages in a criminal prosecution. Key code The objectives are coded for ease of reference. |- Performances are in bold | |- Conditions are underlined | |- Criteria are in italics. | Objectives: By the end of the session, with reference to your course notes and/or Adult Court Bench Book, you will be able to correctly: describe what case management is and why it is important • state four actions to consider when dealing with the impact of delays in court proceedings • explain the procedure for making adjournment and remand decisions and the key issues to consider when making bail/custody decisions. Note: These are only illustrative examples. Annex 1 (cont’d) Example 3 Aim: To examine the key reforms within the Criminal Justice Act (CJA) and provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to apply the new sentencing provisions. Key code The objectives are coded for ease of reference. |- Performances are in bold | |- Conditions are underlined | – Criteria are in italics. | Objectives: By the end of the session, you will be able to: • describe, using suggestions from within syndicate groups, the structured approach to sentencing within the CJA ensuring this accurately covers the Sentencing Guidelines Council (SGC) requirements • list the correct steps to consider from case study exercises, in accordance with the SGC and course material, using the new structured decision making form • name correctly at least five requirements that can be attached to a community order without reference to your course notes. Note: These are only illustrative examples. Annex 2 Checklist for testing well-formed learning objectives Characteristics of objectives |Met |Comments | | |(( or x) | | |Performance | | | | | | | |Do the objectives state what the learner is able to do? | | | | | | | |Examples in the form of doing words such as describe, name, write, list, summarise or | | | |explain. | | |Condition | | | | | | | |Do the objectives state the specific conditions under which the performance is expected to| | | |occur? | | | | | | | |Examples such as with or without reference to course materials, to a group of people, or | | | |given a list of. | | |Criterion | | | | | | | |Do the objectives state the quality or level of performance that will be considered | | | |acceptable? | | | | | | | |Examples such as according to specific references, accurately or correctly. | | | Training programme/course: ……………………………………………………………………. Name: ………………………………………….. Date: ………………………………..