Cover Image
close this bookA Trainer's Resource Guide (Peace Corps, 1983, 199 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAcknowledgments
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentEvaluation of trainer's resource guide
View the documentPeace Corps training philosophy
View the documentAssumptions underlying the peace corps training philosophy and goals
Open this folder and view contentsStandards for Peace Corps training
Open this folder and view contentsPlanning
View the documentAdministrative checklist
Open this folder and view contentsTraining concepts
View the documentBehavioral objectives
View the documentIntegrated training: Effective volunteer
Open this folder and view contentsTraining evaluation
View the documentPeace Corps: Final training-Evaluation report
View the documentProject training plan
View the documentTraining session plan

Behavioral objectives

In order to accomplish the overall goals of training, time and special attention must be given to planning each session. Clear and concise objectives must be stated at the start of training. These objectives will help staff understand what steps are needed to reach the final goals and will help in the planning. Providing trainees with objectives will help them understand what he/she will accomplish by the end of training and will provide them with measurable signs of their progression.

Writing behavioral objectives is a fairly easy task once the basics are understood. Before actually writing the objectives you should do some background research into the volunteer assignment and existing training designs and previous objectives. Once you know what will be required of the volunteers, you can begin to write up the training objectives.

The following section outlines what behavioral objectives are, how to write them, and gives you a sample training session plan.

BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVES

WHAT IS A BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVE?

A BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVE is a way of describing the objectives of a training course in terms of what the trainees should be able to do at the end of that training.

A BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVE must be stated clearly and precisely so that everyone who reads it will know exactly the desired outcome of the training program. By ensuring this precision, at the end of the training program everyone can easily agree whether or not the objectives of the program were achieved.

WHY USE BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVES?

The main advantage of BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVES is their exactness in giving direction to a training program. By knowing exactly where you want to go, it is easier to determine how to get there. Clearness of goals also mke it easier for trainers to communicate among themselves and cooperate on a training program. Thus each trainer can support the achievement of another trainer's objective, even while teaching his/her own.

BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVES are action oriented and thus ideal for Peace Corps training, in-service job training and informal counterpart training.

BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVES are people-oriented since they focus the trainer on constantly trying to improve the course as it goes along and to improve the training inputs from one session to the next.

BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVES are responsibility-oriented, since they encourage both the trainer and the trainee to take the responsibility for achieving the objectives of the training.

HOW SHOULD BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVES BE WRITTEN?

A BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVE should be a statement of what the trainee will be able to do at the end of the training program. In order to ensure that every objective is written in these terms, there are three basic rules which must be followed. Any training objective which violates any one of these rules is NOT a behavioral objective.

A statement of a training goal is a BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVE if it meets the following conditions:

a) BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVES must state what behavior is desired as the outcome of the training. They must specify what the trainee will be able to do at the end of the training that he/she was not able to do before the training.

b) A BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVE must state the desired outcome of the training in terms of observable measurable actions. Only actions (behavior) can be observed and measured and only by observing and measuring actions can the trainer determine whether or not the instructions were successful.

c) The TRAINEE must be the subject of the sentence. That is, BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVES are written in terms of the trainee's action. The objectives should not specify what the trainer must do but only what the trainee will be able to do at the end of the training.

CHARACTERISTICS OF BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVES

A. A BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVE MUST FOCUS ON THE GOAL OF THE TRAINING.

This means that BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVES are concerned with what the trainee will be able to do at the end of training. BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVES only describe the results desired from a given training program. They do not describe how to go about achieving these results. Different trainers may have different ways of achieving the same results, but the objective is concerned only with stating what the results will be.

A statement which describes the action to take place during a training session is not a BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVE. It is merely a description of the learning activities by which the trainer intends to achieve that objective.

(Example of a NON-BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVE)

Trainee will be given the opportunity to have actual practice in doing field work related to theories taught in class.

Practice is not an objective: it is a learning activity, a way to achieve an objective. Thus the above statement is unsuitable as a behavioral objective.

(Example of a BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVE)

Trainee will be able to do community development field work, using extension education techniques as described in the manual on extension education.

This is only one possible way of converting the first example given above into a Behavioral Objective. Since non-behavioral objectives tend to be very vague, there are a number of different ways of interpreting them. However, notice that in this example, the END result of training is emphasized "trainee will be able to do ..." at the end of the training program.

B. A BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVE MUST HAVE AN ACTION VERB.

This means that the trainee must do something that one can see and measure. If one cannot observe what the trainee does, then how can one evaluate whether or not he/she is doing it correctly?

Following are some EXAMPLES of forms in which Behavioral Objectives are usually written:

Trainee will be able to __________________________________

When presented with ,_____________________ trainee will ____________________

Under the following conditions, the trainee will ___________________________

At the end of training, the trainee will ____________________________________

In the blank space there should a verb indicating an observable measurable action. It must be a verb that describes exactly what the trainer wants the trainee to be able to do.

Following are two lists of verbs. One list contains verbs which are observable, measurable action and therefore appropriate for use in BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVES. The other list describes things which we cannot see or measure and therefore unsuitable for behavioral objectives.

ACTION VERBS

VAGUE VERBS

Do

Know

Tell

Understand

Write

Appreciate

Describe

Have

List

Comprehend

Demonstrate

Be Aware

Conduct

Feel

Organize

Believe

Explain


Sometimes, an objective seems to be written in the proper for.,, but it is not really a behavioral objective, because the verb used is not an ACTION verb and therefore not observable and measurable. Following is an example.

(Example of NON-BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVE)

Trainee will be able to understand the cause of the pollution problem.

This is not non-behavioral objective because the word "understand" can not be measured.

Yet it is possible to re-state this objective in ways trainees' understanding might be observed and measured. Trainees might be required to list, explain, describe or in some other way demonstrate that learning has taken place.

Following is an example of one possibility.

(Example of a BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVE)

Trainee will be able to list the major causes of pollution problem in country as described in the training program.

C. IN A BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVE, THE TRAINEE MUST BE THE SUBJECT OF THE SENTENCE

A BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVE is concerned with what the trainee will be able to do, not with what the trainer will do. Therefore, a BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVE must have a subject for the sentence, as well as an action verb. If an objective has no subject, then one cannot be sure who is expected to do the action.

(Example of NON-BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVE)

To discuss the pollution problem and list its implications.

Who is going to discuss the pollution problem? The trainer? The trainees? A guest speaker? The radio? From this objective it is not clear, because no subject is stated. Therefore, it cannot be called a Behavioral Objective.

(Example of a BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVE)

Trainee will be able to explain the pollution problem and list implications to a group of secondary school students.

This is only one possible way of interpreting the previous example in order to make it a behavioral objective. Trainee has become the subject of the sentence.

The following BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVE fulfills the three requirements for a properly written objective.

The trainee will be able to prepare a lesson plan which incorporates all of the five teaching learning principles.

- It describes what the trainee should be able to do at the end of the training: The trainee will be able to prepare a lesson plan...

- It contains an action verb describing an observable , measurable behavior: The trainee will be able to prepare a lesson plan..."

- The trainee is the stated subject of the sentence: The trainee will be able to prepare a lesson plan...

MAIN POINTS ABOUT BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVES

A statement or a training goal is a Behavioral Objective if it meets

ALL to the following conditions.

- A BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVE describes what the trainee should be able to DO at the end of the training.

- A BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVE contains an action verb describing OBSERVABLE, MEASURABLE behavior.

- In a BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVE, the TRAINEE is the subject of the sentence.