How to set elearning objectives that will help you meet business goals

Hands up if you’ve ever clicked your way through a piece of elearning, sighing and muttering to yourself, ‘What’s the point of this?’ Us too. To inspire your audience and deliver real-life impact, every elearning project needs some measurable learning objectives that are aligned with a business goal. It’s time to say goodbye to an audience on autopilot and hello to motivated employees who will help your business succeed.

How to set elearning objectives that will help you meet business goals

How elearning objectives can help you and your business

We all want our elearning to have real-life impact. We want our audience to step away from the screen feeling enthused, empowered and keen to put their new knowledge into practice.  Because the truth is that the success of your business is all down to the success of the people who work there. If you’re trying to reach a big business goal, you need your employees to play their part willingly, competently and confidently.

Part of that comes down to getting your audience on board. How do their personal career goals fit in with your business goals? Your elearning is the perfect opportunity to equip your audience with new perspectives and fresh motivation as well as develop their skills, giving them what they need to step up and achieve their goals.

Focused elearning objectives that are closely aligned with your audience’s personal goals and your wider business goals are a core pillar of successful people-centered elearning.

Clear objectives will:

  •      Keep your content focused and inform your design approach
  •      Make the design and development process easier for you
  •      Ensure that everything you include is useful and will help the audience achieve something in the real world

How to translate your business goals into an elearning objective

elearning target and objective

Step 1: Get clear on your business goal

First things first: you need to know what the business as a whole is trying to achieve and what that means in practical terms.

Let’s take a fictional example of a mobile telecoms company with a business goal to reduce the number of customer complaints by 8% over a six-month period. An investigation reveals that the two main causes of complaints in the previous six months were:

  • An ongoing technical issue causing problems with the service in a particular region
  • Poor customer service experience when contacting the call center for help

Step 2: Identify where elearning can help

Elearning isn’t the answer to everything, so you need to work out where it can be best used to help you support the business goal.

The technical issue needs an engineering fix, so the telecoms company would want to address that by investing more time and resources toward solving the problem. The customer service experience, on the other hand, could be improved with some effective elearning.

Step 3: Write objectives to structure your elearning

Having identified which business goals elearning can contribute to, you need to drill down to get clear on the crux of the issue that needs solving. What exactly is it that’s getting in the way of progress or success? Only then can you write some clear elearning objectives to address them.

When you’ve got your head buried in the nitty gritty of how to write learning objectives, we’d recommend keeping what your audience needs to do to help you reach your business goal in the front of your mind.

For example, after further investigation, our mobile telecoms company reveals that the “poor customer service experience” refers to a lack of proactive updates from call center staff and a feeling of being passed from person to person. Knowing this, they are able to set out clear learning objectives.

After completing the elearning, the call center staff will be able to:

  •      Recognize when they need to take accountability for a particular customer’s need
  •      Identify how frequently they should communicate with the customer
  •      Communicate with customers in a helpful and empathetic manner

Producing content that supports your goal

So, you’re clear on what your elearning needs to achieve and how that supports your business goal. Now the course just writes itself, right? Sadly not, but the good news is that your objectives will make it a lot easier to decide which content makes the cut and which needs to be cut out.

planning from elearning objectives

Look at each of your objectives and ask yourself what your audience needs to know in order to start working differently. The key is to keep it practical. This, in turn, will help keep your content short, sharp, focused and effective.

For example, our telecoms company needs their audience to identify how frequently they should communicate with the customer. It’s tempting to include lots of information on different customer service methodologies that recommend different communication models, but in reality, all the call center staff needs to know is when to pick up the phone in different situations.

Keep it people-centered

When you’re sitting behind your laptop screen working through elearning objectives and writing content, it’s all too easy to make assumptions about what your audience wants and needs in order to achieve their goals. To make sure your elearning is truly people-centered, we always recommend involving a sample group of learners in your elearning design as much as you involve your stakeholders.

A few open questions at the start of the project can give you a real insight into your audience’s personal goals for their careers and how these fit in with the business goals. This is invaluable for guiding your objectives and making sure you don’t waste your time or theirs on content that isn’t useful. Later, you can test early versions of your design concept and content with learners to make sure it will land in the way you hope.

This balance between what your stakeholders and your audience need from the learning is the recipe for effective, people-centered elearning that will help you meet your business goals.

people centered elearning checklist

Download the 25-point checklist for people-centered elearning.

Final thoughts

Creating elearning to support a business goal is one way of proving the value learning brings to your wider organization. There are many ways you can demonstrate the ROI of your elearning using a measure that’s appropriate for your business. Find out how to demonstrate ROI in a way that makes sense for your organization.

If your team would benefit from a practical guide that walks you through mapping your content to your goals, this free interactive guide will help!


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