Mesurable objectives for new employee introduction?

Sep 13, 2011


I’m working with producing an introduction for new employees in a public organization in Scandinavia and am at the moment a bit stuck with the learning objectives.

Working with e-learning is rather new to me and I don’t have any formal education in instructional design but I have a background within IT and communication. I’m learning by doing and by finding information that are shared by all of you experts out there!

Anyway I seem to be stuck with the problem of formulating the learning objectives and can’t move on without them. The overall goals are very broad and are all about wanting new employees to feel welcome and informing them about the organization, visions, benefits and conditions etc.

So how can I move on? Any tips or advice is highly appreciated!


14 Replies
Jeanette Brooks

Hi Catrin, and welcome!

One thing that can help is to get your SMEs/sponsors to focus on the specific outcomes and learner behavior they're seeking. You could ask your SMEs or project sponsor questions like: "What do we expect learners to do once they're finished with the training?" (Rather than - what do we expect them to "understand" or "know.")

Another good question that will help you craft the objectives is "What evidence on the job will tell us they've learned what they needed to learn?"

You could also probe a little deeper with your SMEs to drill down into the business reasons for why they want this new training. Something must have triggered their decision to invest in the course's development & deployment. You could ask what conditions or problems exist right now that they believe will be fixed by revamping the new-employee orientation. That way everyone can get on the same page regarding exactly what the training is supposed to achieve. This could also lead into a productive discussion about non-training interventions that they might want to consider as well - since sometimes SMEs see training as a hammer & every problem as a nail.

A good resource for this sort of thing is the following series of blog posts that Tom Kuhlmann put together:

Designing the Right Course

Another helpful thing to take a look at is Cathy Moore's post on action mapping.

Hope that helps! Looking forward to other folks' thoughts on this too.

Bob S

As usual, Jeannete seems to have nailed some of the key points...

  • What can they DO after the training that they couldnt do before
  • What PAIN (issue) are your stakeholders/SMEs experiencing that they want to avoid

Those two questions are key to getting to the right objectives.

Beyond that I can suggest a few possible objectives for new hire training. While they may not apply to your situation, they might get you thinking. Be able to...

  1. ...explain the organization's mission/credo in your own words
  2. ....demonstrate understanding of the core values of the company by applying your knowledge to X situations
  3. ....prepare your own "elavator speech" that explains who you work for and why they are special
  4. ...apply what you've learned about the organization by creating a sample help wanted ad of no more than X words

Of course all of those revolve around the core theme of "who we are". I'm betting you can come up with even better objectives for that topic and the rest of the important points of the new hire training you are creating.

Good luck,


Lauren Milstid

This might be a helpful formula for you when writing objectives. It is referenced in William Horton's book:

First, the objective states the intent. What will be taught?

Second, it identifies the target learner.

Third, it identifies starting requirements. What does the learner need to know before they can accomplish the objective?

Best of luck!

Catrin Lagerquist

Thanks everybody!

I'm grateful that you took the time to answer me. I need all the help I can get.

If I only had some more people to work with but this is a one man (woman) project. Makes me even more insecure besides from beeing new to instructional design.

I shall look at the links you gave me and also try to get some more time with my SMEs if possible.


Jeff Kortenbosch

Hi Catrin,

Going though the same process. Our course is mostly informational

We have identified the following areas (which are pretty standard):

  • Welcome to our company
  • Our view on key topics (Sustainability, Diversity, Employee Engagment, our strategic ambitions) and what You can do to contribute to our strategic values
  • An overview of our company (Which business area's do we have, What product do we sell etc
  • What do our customers think of us
  • Actions on the end of the course are: plan a meeting with you manager to indentify and meet your local HR person, Site manager (get a tour), HSE&S manager, Enroll in the code of conduct training program, if existing enroll in the local site's onboarding program blablabla

Is that useful?


Doreen Rambke-Hartz

Hi Catrin,

I' agree with Bob S's comments, you need to be clear with your learning objectives before moving forward with your course design.  Too many courses fail because they don't have clear learning objectives that are built from the stand point of what the learner is suppose to do/ know/ say by the end of the course.  Some folks inadvertently list out course topics as their objectives.

If a client said the topic was the company mission, do your learners need to know what it is, recite it back to someone, explain it in their own words, know where it is posted in their building.  If you said they just to know what is it, I might have it displayed on a screen, then at the end of the course, create a quiz question that asks them to select it from a list of phrases.  If they have to explain it in their own words, I might have it displayed in the course, then have an exercise that says in the next week,  walk up to 3 colleagues and explain the mission.  If they need to know where the mission is displayed in their office, you might have a map of the building and use the "hot spot' feature in quizmaker to have them mark where a sign with the mission is located.

I've attached my learning objective cheat sheet.

Michael Fimian

Hi all,

Not sure if it helps, but I developed this piece on Bloom's taxonomy for use with SMEs and teachers;  gives examples of observable behaviors at each level, so course objectives could start at the bottom of the hierarchy, and progress upwards through the hierarchy as the course progresses.  Other than the observable and measurable skills, there are examples of objectives for each level...



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