From Vague to Valuable: Crafting Training Goals with SMART Objectives

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In industries like coal seam gas (CSG) extraction, clear and concise safety information is essential. Using the SMART objectives framework, I aimed to make a gate induction for visitors and contractors more effective. This post explores how I applied SMART objectives to enhance the induction process.

Understanding SMART Objectives.

SMART is an acronym that ensures training objectives are:

  • Specific: Clearly defined goals.
  • Measurable: Criteria to gauge success.
  • Achievable (or Action orientated): Realistic and attainable goals.
  • Relevant: Objectives aligned with broader aims.
  • Time-bound: Clear deadlines.

Case Study: QGC Plant Gate Induction.

At QGC’s coal seam gas plants, contractors and visitors undergo a gate induction via kiosks at the guard station. This induction covers essential site specific topics like evacuation procedures, alarm responses, muster areas, and PPE requirements.

Examples of a poor learning objectives:

Participants should know about safety at the plant.

Get familiar with company policies.

Why is it ineffective?

  1. Vagueness: It doesn’t specify which safety aspects or policies it refers to.
  2. Lack of Measurability: There’s no clear way to assess if participants “know” about safety or the policies.
  3. Not Achievable: It’s unclear what “knowing about safety” or “getting familiar” entails.
  4. Not Relevant: The lack of focus means some content might not align with crucial safety aspects.
  5. Not Time-bound: No time-frame is provided for achievement.

Example of a good learning objective:

By the end of the induction, participants will be able to accurately identify the actions required for the three different alarm signals at the plant, demonstrating their understanding through a scenario-based assessment with 100% accuracy.

Why is it Effective?

  1. Specificity: It clearly states the need to identify and describe actions for three alarm signals.
  2. Measurability: Understanding is demonstrated through a scenario-based assessment with a specific accuracy benchmark.
  3. Achievability: The objective is focused and achievable within the induction’s scope.
  4. Relevance: Recognizing alarm signals is crucial for safety at the plant.
  5. Time-bound: Specifies achievement by the end of the induction.


Understanding the difference between poorly crafted and well-defined objectives can significantly enhance the effectiveness of any training course. By ensuring our objectives are SMART, we set a clear path for both instructors and learners, leading to better outcomes and safer practices.

In addition to the learning objectives the SMART framework can also be used in the project’s management. With well-written goals all stakeholders know what to work towards, what to evaluate, and what to reflect upon during retrospectives.

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