Goal setting is a fundamental aspect of providing clear direction – whether it’s to work towards a promotion, achieve a grade, or provide evidence of a skill or qualification. So, as more learners adopt digital learning options, more EdTech (education technology) solutions are improving how educators set learning direction. EdTech can enhance education when used well. It can include anything from video meeting apps to collaborative whiteboards and learning management systems (LMS) software such as Moodle and Tōtara. In this blog post, we will share the importance of setting achievable goals and how EdTech can accelerate your learners’ success.
The benefits of goal setting
There are a range of benefits to goal setting including:
- Direction: Direction gives everyone something to aim for and work towards. It provides a common destination.
- Focus: With clear goals it is easier to focus on what is important.
- Decision-Making: Goals can aid in decision-making by helping us organise our list of priorities.
- Confidence: Goals help you feel in control and confident in your direction and decision-making.
- Motivation: Goals give us something to aspire to. As we work towards a long-term goal, we also achieve short-term goals. This consistent achievement journey can also motivate us to continue.
- Self-satisfaction: Goals often represent a challenge. Therefore, learners typically feel proud of challenging accomplishments.
How to set achievable goals and stick with them
To set clear and achievable goals, you and your learners need to understand:
- Why they’re creating goals.
- How the outcome of their goals creates impact.
There are goal setting frameworks that can aid you in creating realistic and achievable goals by creating the what and the how. The goal framework you use will depend on your organisation type, and who the goal is for.
- SMART goals (specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-related): using the SMART goals framework is a great way to fully realise a goal and figure out how to achieve them.
- OKRs (objectives and key results): OKRs are a framework generally used in a corporate setting to set goals for an organisation, team, or individual. To create an OKR, you need a defined goal and 3-5 measurable key results.
If the goals set in your LMS aren’t being achieved, it could be a sign their goal isn’t realistic enough, or it isn’t clear enough. You can return to these frameworks throughout your goal setting process to refine goals and work towards them. Plus, it’s a good idea to reflect on goals to ensure they are still relevant.
Additionally, if you or your learners are collecting evidence for a skill or qualification, you should also consider the tools to facilitate this. Using a portfolio platform like Mahara alongside your LMS software means your learners can access their reflections alongside their courses. You can learn more about how ePortfolio’s can support your LMS in this blog post.
5 ways your LMS can support goal achievement
1. Gamification for effective learning
Participating in activities that stimulate our bodies or minds, like exercising, triggers the release of endorphins. Similarly, engaging in eLearning games that challenge learners or offer rewards, such as progressing to the next level, can evoke the same response. These endorphins both enhance the enjoyment of the eLearning process and aid in information retention.
Gamification is when eLearning content includes game-like elements to motivate learners, drive engagement, and get the endorphins flowing. For example, they could earn badges or rewards for accomplishing tasks, advance levels, or have a leaderboard. Essentially, gamification adds a fun and competitive element to learning whilst maintaining the goal direction. However, it is worth noting that whilst gamification can make content exciting, entertaining, and educational you should also make use of the LMS analytics to ensure the ‘game’ is also achieving its set goals. Such as, if the game is too hard or doesn’t provide educational value to your learners it could be missing the mark. If you are responsible for eLearning content development, we recommend teaming up with expert LMS content developers to drive great results.
2. Track progress
As an organisation, educator, or LMS administrator, you will need to track learners' progress against their goals. Your LMS software should provide you with data showing your learners’ progress towards their goals.
Your LMS software should have reporting features providing an overview of course activities. LMSs like Tōtara have detailed, aggregated, graphical reporting including:
- Pie charts.
- Bar charts.
- Scatter charts.
- Line charts.
Furthermore, in some LMSs, including in Tōtara, you can access dashboard reports and filter them based on content, learner groups, or achievement level. For example, you could filter the results of a course completion report by education sector, team, position, or class. One of the things we like about Tōtara’s report builder is it allows you to set reports based on your requirements and tweak templates to suit your needs. Reports you could use are:
- Course completion: Visualises the learner completion percentage versus courses. Essentially this enables you to gauge engagement and compliance.
- Logins: This shows a graph of login trends by day or month, so you can gauge engagement.
- Face to Face Attendance: Details how many learners are attending face to face training. For an organisation this can help build a picture of training hours used across the year.
Moodle also introduced a report builder in Moodle 4.0. While Moodle does not yet support graphical reporting there is a rich set of reports and functionality enabling you to make the right information available to the right groups of people.
Both Moodle and Tōtara support reports are sent to users via email, exported for further analysis, or integrated with a business information system like Power BI.
Quizzes can be a powerful tool for assessments or knowledge checks throughout a course. The reporting available with this activity is rich and can provide great insight into your learners’ successes and struggles in specific areas. Including, being able to dive deeper into results on an individual, question, or course-level basis to support your learners. Plus, it can also show you how your content is performing.
Having detailed insights enables you to pinpoint where content needs updating. For example, your LMS software reports should provide insight when there’s a trend of learners failing a question. Potentially, your question needs improvement. Or perhaps further subject training is needed for the class. Another useful trend to look out for is how many attempts were made to get the correct answer.
3. AI and personalisation
The use of AI (artificial intelligence) in LMS software is rising. For example, you can add AI to your LMS through a plugin, or if you’re using Moodle in your organisation, it’s already built-in.
AI can automate manual processes and identify patterns. For example, Moodle's AI recommends courses by analysing completed ones and identifying common learning paths for personalized suggestions.
Additionally, you could consider incorporating chatbots into your LMS software. This can support learning through instant feedback.
4. Data-driven decisions
Having insights into your learners’ goals and progress enable you to build a thorough story of learning and development in your organisation. For example, you will gain insights into:
- Learner motivation.
- How your course content influences outcomes.
- Where additional content or support is needed.
These insights help influence your learning and development strategy and inform future changes and initiatives.
5. Take Action
Improving goal setting is an ongoing process, and each step needs to be repeated and reiterated. What works for your learners now will change as technology does. However, following these steps should help you to consider ways you can tackle goal setting now.
Our team at Catalyst can help you identify new opportunities for your LMS to support your learner success strategy.