by R. Murphy-Weast | April 15, 2024 | 5 Min Read

Learning Objectives, ROI, and You

Smart goals

A foundational step in demonstrating the return on investment (ROI) of learning initiatives is the creation of measurable learning objectives. These guide training development and lay the groundwork for evaluating their success. In this post, we’ll explore how to create learning objectives that enable you to better track your training’s impacts.

How to Write Learning Objectives

At their core, learning objectives state what a learner should be able to do at the end of a program like an eLearning, huddle, or instructor-led training (ILT). Many learning and development (L&D) practitioners use a tool like Bloom’s Taxonomy to create their “action words.” Although developed for K-12 educators, this resource identifies broad stages of a learning process that are applicable to adult audiences, too. Some businesses simplify Bloom’s six categories to a three-part “learn, try, do” or “learn, apply, sustain” cycle. Others follow the SMART formula to identify key characteristics for their learning objectives. Businesses might also refer to the Kirkpatrick Model to determine their outcome and work backwards from there. No matter the method, learning objectives need to clearly lay out what success looks like within an individual piece of a learner journey.

learn apply sustain

Connecting Learning Objectives to Performance

Our team at Unboxed is passionate about this topic — in fact, we’ve already written a blog post about it! We believe that clearly making this connection not only validates the investment in training, but also ensures that training programs are relevant, practical, and tailored to meet both the learners' needs and the business’s strategic objectives.

This connection also helps get buy-in from senior leaders at your company. You can help make the connection for them by:

  • Engaging them early: Ensure your team solicits feedback from high-level team members. This confirms your program goals and their alignment with desired business outcomes. By presenting leadership with a thoughtful, strategic proposal, you’re avoiding costly rework later in the development process.
  • Using case studies: If your business is embarking on a new type of training content, modality, or learner group, consider analyzing data from outside your organization. Presenting these studies to key business leaders may increase their confidence in trying something new.
  • Piloting your training: If your business leaders are hesitant to roll out a company-wide training initiative, start small. You can test your training in a small sample size that’s representative of the larger company. Then, collect and analyze data to determine the ROI.

Designing training with the end in mind — measurable outcomes that support business objectives — enables organizations to directly link learning initiatives to key performance indicators (KPIs). Whether it's increasing sales, improving customer satisfaction, or enhancing operational efficiency, every learning objective should contribute to business results. This empowers L&D practitioners to ensure their ROI is measurable and supports business performance.

Effective L&D requires more than just delivering content. It requires a strategic approach that starts with clear, measurable goals and ends with demonstrable business value.

Realizing the Unboxed Vision

With concerted effort and a comprehensive strategy, your organization can drive real change through measurable learning objectives. Need help putting together such a strategy? We can help.

At Unboxed Training & Technology, we get L&D. We not only provide consulting services, but we create bite-sized custom content that’s relevant to your organization’s employees. We use your terminology and your business environment to ensure training is on-brand and well-received.

Schedule a demo to learn more about how our custom training content development services can help your team.

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