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What Do You Want to Accomplish?

There is an overall reason you or your sponsors and stakeholders want this program to be developed. This is the "rationale" for the program. The rationale explains, "What's in this program for participants and for MIT?" It describes why someone would enroll in the training and what the outcomes are expected to be.

Key Questions:

  • Why is this training being developed? (e.g., Are there compliance reasons? Is it needed for certain kinds of work? Are these interpersonal skills that will enable work in certain areas?)
  • What domain of learning is being targeted: knowledge, skills, or attitude/behavior?
  • Does this training seek to enable, inform, or change behavior, including the manner in which people's emotions, feelings, or attitudes are brought into play?
  • Will the training teach a skill that requires practice and can be measured?

By answering these questions, whether through information you have been given or through stakeholder discussion and exploration, you will be clear about why you are developing the program. These are also referred to as the "overall goals."

The overall goals or rationale may be differentiated from the training's specific "learning   objectives." For example, the rationale for a new program may be to enhance management effectiveness on behalf of MIT overall. The program's learning objective may be to learn specific employment law or to develop active listening or assertive communications skills.

In addition, keeping in mind MIT's diverse community of participants is important when planning program goals. How will the program ensure a sense of inclusivity and respect for all participants? These can be part of the goals at the beginning of a program's inception.

Finally, it is likely you will want to refine how you articulate the rationale of your program during your thinking and discussions about the training. That is, the articulation of overall goals (as well as specific program objectives) are often refined and revised as the training decision-making develops and as stakeholder input is gathered.

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