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Writing Good Training Material Objectives By Sylvia A. Miller Senior Consultant Spherion and Mindy Hoffbauer Training, Testing & Technical Documentation.

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Presentation on theme: "Writing Good Training Material Objectives By Sylvia A. Miller Senior Consultant Spherion and Mindy Hoffbauer Training, Testing & Technical Documentation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Writing Good Training Material Objectives By Sylvia A. Miller Senior Consultant Spherion and Mindy Hoffbauer Training, Testing & Technical Documentation Northrop Grumman Litton TASC

2 Session Objectives Given your full attention and participation, at the end of this session, you will be able to do the following with at least 70% accuracy: Describe the differences and similarities between writing user documentation and training materials. Write objectives with specific performances, conditions, and criteria. Describe how well-written objectives are a win-win for instructors and students. This session does not cover all the basics of good instructional design (couldnt cover in the time given). So today were focusing on the most important component of ID: well-written objectives.

3 Exercise #1 Read the article, The 25 Faces of Pamela Gien You may take as many notes as you wish You have exactly four minutes Please turn in your articles

4 Quiz for Exercise #1 Name the headers and footers for this article. To whom is the photo credited? Name the drop cap used. What were the seven elements of the article written in a sans serif font? – This is a serif font. This is a sans serif font. If one was used, what was the end-of- article signifier (symbol)?

5 Answers for Exercise #1 Name the headers and footers for this article. Headers: O (magazines name), gems (magazine section name) Footers: 117 (pg. #), 2001 May (issue date) To whom is the photo credited? Michael Lamont Name the drop cap used. W

6 Answers for Exercise #1 What were the seven elements of the article written in a sans serif font? Articles title, authors name, drop cap, pull quote, photo caption, photo credit, issue date If one was used, what was the end-of- article signifier (symbol)? Solid circle ( )

7 Problems? Without objectives, students dont know – What to write in their notes – What to pay attention to – What will be included on the test – What theyre supposed to be learning Ever been in this situation?

8 Objectives for Exercise #1 After reading this article, students will be able to: – Identify (name) headers and footers – Identify (name) photo credits – Identify (name) drop caps – Identify (name) sans serif text – Identify (name) the end-of-article signifier Wouldnt your notes have been different if wed told you this before the quiz?

9 Objectives for Exercise #2 After reading this article, students will be able to: – Identify (name) trademarked () names – Identify (name) copyrighted (©) information – Identify (name) URLs (web site addresses) Ex: or.net or.org – Identify (name) corporate logos – Identify (name) toll-free telephone numbers

10 Exercise #2 Study the advertisement for Vaniqa You may take as many notes as you wish You can look at the list of objectives while you study the advertisement You have exactly four minutes

11 Objectives for Exercise #2 After reading this article, students will be able to: – Identify (name) trademarked () names – Identify (name) copyrighted (©) information – Identify (name) URLs (web site addresses) Ex: or.net or.org – Identify (name) corporate logos – Identify (name) toll-free telephone numbers Please turn in your advertisement

12 Quiz for Exercise #2 What was the trademarked name mentioned in the advertisement? Which two companies hold the copyright for this advertisement? What is the URL for obtaining more information about this product? Do the two companies noted in this advertisement have company logos? What is the toll-free number for obtaining more information about this product?

13 Answers for Exercise #2 What was the trademarked name mentioned in the advertisement? Vaniqa Which two companies hold the copyright for this advertisement? Bristol-Myers Squibb Company & The Gillette Company

14 Answers for Exercise #2 What is the URL for obtaining more information about this product? Do the two companies noted in this advertisement have company logos? Yes (Bristol-Myers Squibb has sunburst, Gillette has stylized G) What is the toll-free number for obtaining more information about this product? FACENEWS

15 Success! With objectives identified, you were probably able to: – better anticipate the types of questions that would be on the quiz – take better (more specific) notes – learn more of what the instructor wanted you to learn – score much higher on the quiz

16 About the Presenters Trainer/Educator to Tech Writer – Sylvia A. Miller B.S.Ed., M.A. in English Several years of teaching children & adults Experience in WBT, CBT, and other training and documentation deliverables Tech Writer to Trainer – Mindy Hoffbauer A.A., B.A., M.A. in English Language & Literature with technical writing certification No formal education in training Have been developing & delivering training globally

17 About our Primary Source Mager, Robert F. Preparing Instructional Objectives: A Critical Tool in the Development of Effective Instruction. 3rd ed. Atlanta: Center for Effective Performance, 1997.

18 About our Primary Source Preparing Instructional Objectives is from a collection of books on instructional design, called The New Mager Six-Pack.

19 Brainstorming Activity: User Manuals & Training Materials What are some of the similarities between effective user manuals and effective training materials? What are some of the differences?

20 Basics of Good Objectives How to determine objectives Importance of good objectives Terms to use Terms to avoid What not to include What to include

21 How to Determine Objectives Task listing. Compile a collection of tasks involved in carrying out the specific work or play action. Task analysis. List the components of the task; what a competent person does when performing the task; steps followed; decisions made; how to tell when the task is complete.

22 How to Determine Objectives Skill derivation. Ask what would anyone have to know or be able to do before being ready to practice this entire task. For example, interviewing a person?? Objectives drafting. Draft the objectives describing the limits--the amount of skill that anyone would need to perform the various tasks.

23 Importance of Good Objectives Purpose: to describe how a learner will demonstrate knowledge, comprehension, and ability to perform a specific task. Need: if well-designed, ensures that a training solution teaches. Function: communicates an intended instructional result to students. Conveys picture of what a successful learner will be able to do.

24 Importance of Good Objectives They lay foundation by providing primary criteria for evaluating – learner achievement – success of instruction – overall quality of the training solution

25 Importance of Good Objectives Help point to specific issues or content to be covered in instruction This is a win for the instructor, writer, and/or instructional designer because… Its also a win for the student because… Win-win--a benefit to all involved.

26 Terms to Use & Terms to Avoid Remember the phrase Communicates an intended instructional result to students? – How do you best communicate the intended instructional result? – Mager says, The best statement is one that excludes the greatest number of possible meanings other than your intent. – He advises us to avoid words that are slippery, too broad, or fuzzies.

27 The No-No Words for Objectives Terms open to many interpretations: – to know – to understand, or to really understand – to appreciate, or to fully appreciate – to grasp the significance of – to enjoy – to believe, conceptualize – to internalize

28 Preferred Words for Objectives Terms open to fewer interpretations: – to write, to recite, to identify – to sort, to solve – to construct, to build – to compare, to contrast – to smile In short, make objectives specific, observable, measurable.

29 What Not to Include in an Objective Instructional procedures. (Serves no purpose; could be limiting.) Mention only outcomes when writing objectives. Target audience. For example, Secretaries will be able to bold words when directed by their boss to stress something in a memo. Wouldnt other people also need to know how to use the bold feature? Waste of time to write different objective for each audience.

30 Mager says good objectives contain three parts: Performance: What should the learner be able to do? Condition(s): Under what conditions should the learner be able to do this? Criterion: How well must it be done? What to Include in an Objective

31 Performance A good objective clearly states what the student is expected to be able to do or to produce to be considered competent – This shows both the instructor and the student that the training has been successful.

32 Visible & Invisible Performance Performance that is visible or audible is OVERT – running, cooking, yodeling Performance that is not observable is COVERT – identifying, solving, distinguishing

33 Key Ingredient of Objectives An objective that does not include an observable performance is not yet an objective.

34 Covert Performance When performance is covert, add an indicator behavior so the performance can be observed An indicator behavior is simple, direct, and something students can already do – say, name, point to, circle, underline, sort

35 Performance Examples Overt – Be able to type Covert – Be able to discriminate between daisies and roses Covert with Indicator Behavior – Be able to discriminate between daisies and roses by sorting by pointing by circling

36 Intent vs Indicator Make sure your objective contains your intent and not just an indicator behavior – Be able to circle processes on a flow chart Is intention of training really to teach students how to circle? – Be able to recognize (circle) processes on a flow chart

37 Conditions Makes the objective even more specific. Eliminates the need for guesswork by the student. Detailed enough to describe each of the conditions needed to allow the performance to happen. Makes accurate measurement of learner performance even easier, and makes development of material easier.

38 Questions to Ask Yourself What will the learner be expected to use when performing (tools, forms, etc.)? What will the learner not be allowed to use when performing (checklists, job aids, cheat sheets)? What will be the real-world conditions under which the performance will be expected to occur (in front of an audience, in a cockpit, under water)?

39 Can You Identify the Condition? Given a list of factors leading to significant historical events, be able to identify (underline) at least five factors contributing to the crash of Given a list of chemical elements, be able to recall (write) the valences of each. While blindfolded, and presented with wine samples, be able to recognize (say) which samples were aged in oak casks.

40 Criteria A good objective describes how well a student would have to perform to be considered competent Adding a criterion to an objective will provide a way to measure a students competence of a particular task.

41 Criteria A criterion added to an objective will provide: – a testing standard – a success measurement for students – a success measurement for the instructor A criterion should name appropriate or desired ability, not a minimum level Some criteria may be: speed, quantity, quality, accuracy

42 Criteria Be careful when adding criteria not to turn the objective into a test question – Be able to write four proposals in five days Sounds more like a test than an objective May confuse objectives rather than clarify May want to point to reference when setting criterion if it states criteria well – Be able to write a design document that meets guidelines in J-STD-016

43 Performance, Condition or Criteria? be able to write a proposal Given a Request for Proposal (RFP), in 24 hours with 2% or less error rate. condition performance criteria

44 Summary Thus Far An instructional objective describes an intended outcome of instruction, rather than the procedures for accomplishing those outcomes. 2. An objective always states a performance describing what the learner will be DOING when demonstrating mastery of the objective.

45 Summary Thus Far When the main intent of an objective is covert, an indicator behavior is added. 4. Indicator behaviors are always the simplest, most direct behaviors possible; always something that every trainee already knows how to do well.

46 Summary Thus Far To prepare an objective: – Communicate the main intent or performance expected of the student. – If the performance is covert, add an indicator behavior through which the main intent can be detected. – Describe relevant or important conditions under which the performance is expected to occur. Add as much description as is needed to communicate the intent.

47 The Good, the Bad and the Fixable Ready for another exercise? Reach for Objectives Needing a Facelift. – Work with the people at your table to analyze three weak objectives and rewrite five badly written objectives so theyre effective.

48 Sending Junior to College Heres another exercise: – Junior and friends are off to college soon – Develop training materials to teach them a useful skill before leaving home Group A Write objectives for teaching them how to make pizza from scratch Group A Write objectives for teaching them how to make pizza from scratch Group B Write objectives for teaching them how to do laundry Group B Write objectives for teaching them how to do laundry

49 Heres What You Now Know about Objectives They ensure that the training solution teaches/succeeds by laying the foundation for the evaluation of the student and training solution Are a win-win for both student and instructor

50 Heres What You Now Know about Objectives They describe what the student will demonstrate (performance); are observable, measurable Include conditions and criteria Use terms that are open to little interpretation Do not include instructional procedures or target audience

51 So Go Forth… …and write much better training materials!

52 Questions? Sylvia Miller: Mindy Hoffbauer: Slideshow:


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