The Heydad test

It’s easy to get caught up in a kind of orthodoxy when dealing with training objectives (which some people want to call learning objectives, though that’s a discussion for another day). When I was in grad school, the touchstone was a Mager-style behavioral objective: state the purpose of your piece of instruction so that it includes:

  • The conditions (the givens)
  • An observable performance (the behavior)
  • The standard for success (the criteria)

For example:

  • Given ten widgets, some with assembly defects…
  • Identify and correct…
  • 90% of the defects in less than 90 minutes.

This useful approach steers you away from the vagueness of “know” as an objective. (“I want the telesales staff to know how to handle irate customers.”)

If you have trouble framing a behavioral objective — something that you can observe directly, or use as evidence of some internal behavior — the Heydad test is for you.

Just state your objective after the phrase:

Hey, Dad! Watch me while I…

Some examples and non-examples (no extra charge):

  • Hey, Dad! Watch me while I create a three-column table in Word.
  • Hey, Dad! Watch me while I communicate effectively with my supervisor.
  • Hey, Dad! Watch me while I arrange to avoid interruptions when interviewing a job candidate.
  • Hey, Dad! Watch me while I understand my 401(k) options.

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