The Difference Between Employee Learning Goals and Learning Objectives

Designing Digitally


The Difference Between Employee Learning Goals and Learning Objectives

The term eLearning can have a broad meaning depending on who you talk to. Most people, however, equate eLearning to courses you take online. The fact is, eLearning, online learning, or educational technology-based learning signifies a much more complex concept. An online course is just the icing on the cake. eLearning encompasses mLearning, online learning, computer-based learning and much much more.

When you delve deeper and start to understand the intricacies of eLearning, things can get quite overwhelming, and fast. This is why, when attempting to integrate eLearning into your company's Learning and Development culture, it is necessary to start from the inside out. This means that, before launching into a full-sprint, you must first learn to walk, then run, then reach lightspeed.

The walking part represents your company's internal workings. Establishing and refining your business goals is the first step in the right direction. Next, you'll want to determine the learning goals and objectives. No, learning goals are not synonymous with learning objectives, and we'll tell you why.

What Are Learning Goals

Designing an employee training course is no small feat and figuring out the employee learning goals can help make that process a lot easier. Learning goals refer to the skills and knowledge you want your employees to acquire during and after completing the training. Or, the goals they themselves can communicate to you. Goals are broad, achievable, and realistic, but not measurable.

To give you a few examples, learning goals can be:

  • Learning how to work as an efficient team member

  • Refining team leader skills and knowledge

  • Developing advanced skills for using WordPress

  • Learning key project management concepts

  • Learning effective strategies to prepare for presentations

Whatever the goals may be, one thing is certain, you need learning goals to delineate what employees should be paying attention to while engaged in the course. 

Read also: Creating SMART Goals for Employee Training

What Are Learning Objectives

Learning objectives will be measurable and specific. Often, one goal can have more than one objective. Having learning objectives means taking learning goals and breaking them down into measurable, technical outcomes you want the course to have for the employees. If goals are the theory, objectives are the process. Here's an example:

The Goal: employees will learn how to work as an efficient team member

The Objectives:

  • The team leader will communicate effectively and clearly what the team should be working on

  • The team leader will organize and manage the team for maximum productivity and satisfaction

  • The team leader will ask for input from each team member to encourage idea exchange

  • The team leader will decide what tasks to delegate and which team member will be in charge of each task

The list can go on. There are many intricacies to the plethora of objectives employees need to reach to become great team leaders. The point here is to understand the difference between goals and objectives. Thus, while goals are long-term and general, objectives are short-term and specific. To create a successful training program, determining learning goals and objectives should be at the top of your to-do list.

Read also: How to Establish Objectives for Corporate Training

Setting Learning Objectives and Learning Goals

The benefits of setting clear training goals and training objectives should be self-evident by now. Aligning business goals with training goals and objectives is likely the first action you should take because this will allow you to see the bigger picture. You'll plan for the business objectives and implement an employee training program that will help you get there.

Some of the benefits defining learning goals and objectives can bring are:

  • Helps you identify gaps in business goals

  • Ensures efficient planning for future growth

  • Clarifies how to go about filling skill and knowledge gaps for your employees

  • Guides you in the creation of highly useful training content

  • Helps you figure out what implementation methods work best for your workforce

  • Produces data that can be analyzed to better assess program efficiency and employee proficiency with the course


Of course, the story doesn't end here. Armed with your well-defined learning goals and objectives, you can now start to put together a plan or process through which to successfully conduct the training program. Reaching your business goals doesn't have to be a hassle and eLearning designers can help. If you are interested in talking with someone from our team about your learning objectives and goals, contact us today.