Goal setting

Another important part of establishing the learning environment, along with clarifying expectations, is setting goals for learning. Let’s look at some effective ways to do this.

Clear learning goals and/or objectives provide tangible indicators which help to engage learners in the activity and enable the determination of progress toward the expected level of knowledge and skills to be gained. Allowing students to also develop their own personal goals and objectives, will also provide a sense of ownership and facilitate deeper engagement with their learning.

One way to set effective goals is to make sure that they are SMART. That is, they need to be:

Smart goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound © Keith Bell. (Remixed by QUT)

Here is an example of a SMART learning goal that might be part of a student’s learning plan.

By the end of this placement, I will be able to correctly apply principles of asepsis to the provision of simple wound care without assistance from my supervisor.

This goal is

  • Specific because it states exactly what is to be achieved
  • Measurable because the outcome can be observed
  • Attainable because the student has the necessary knowledge, skills and/or experience to achieve the goal
  • Realistic because it relates to what is expected of the student; and
  • Time-bound as it has a specific timeline and deadlines.

It isn’t always necessary to set formal goals or objectives for every learning activity a student might undertake. However, clear goals provide a framework that benefits both students and clinical supervisors. Move on to the next step which provides the opportunity to practise setting SMART goals.

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This article is from the free online course:

Clinical Supervision for Health Professionals

Queensland University of Technology