Do you scratch your head as you face a blank document having been tasked to create a training session for staff? Do you think ‘what do I need to think about first’?

As you read this blog post what would you like to know by the time you finish reading?

What will you be able to do by the end of the training session?

Adjust this question a little and apply to a training situation. Put yourself in the learners’ shoes and ask ‘what would I like to know or be able to do by the end of the training session’.

Of course, each learner and the manager might have a different answer.  If it is possible I suggest asking the potential trainees and the manager beforehand as this helps you design the training session.

Bob’s been asked to deliver a 2-hour manual handling session.  In this short time, his aim is for each to understand the structure and function of the spine and identify the risk factors for injury when manually moving loads/objects.

Tip for setting the aim

The aim should be written so that it can easily be incorporated into a description for the advertised or promoted event. Anyone reading the description should immediately get the idea of what the training is all about.

If you find it difficult to start with the aim then start with the objectives – these are what the trainees will be able to do or know by end of the session and the level of confidence they will be able to take away from the session. They always should be trainee oriented.

The objectives are the statements that a trainer shares with the trainees before and at the start of the session so they all know what they’re going to achieve.  The trainer designs the session activities to make sure each person has enough time and practice to achieve all the objectives with some confidence.

Bob has 12 trainees and only 2 hours to deliver the training so he’s going to make sure the objectives are manageable and achievable.

By the end of Bob’s session each trainee will be able to:

  • Identify the main areas of the spine that injury is most likely to occur.
  • Describe how efficient movement can reduce the risk of injury to the musculoskeletal system
  • Demonstrate efficient movement principles for manually moving loads/objects by:
  • Lifting objects from the floor onto platform/table at waist height
  • Moving an object from platform to table at waist height to the floor (lower to the floor)
  • Carrying a load over a distance of 5 metres, negotiating a 90-degree turn

Bob knows that by the end of the session he will have seen everyone complete a handout having added annotation about the spine and injury sites. He will have observed them all using correct lifting methods within the 3 types of movements. He will have asked everyone to describe an efficient movement principle.

Tip for setting objectives

Use action verbs to start each objective. Good action verbs are ‘describe’, list, demonstrate, discuss, annotate, play, summarise, make, construct etc

Try to avoid using ‘understand’ or ‘know’ in objectives, as these statements will be difficult for a trainer to confirm full achievement.  The trainer would have to set an exam or test to fully test someone’s knowledge about a subject. A trainer will be able to check that if a trainee has carried out a task with competence they will have indicated a level of understanding of the topic.


If you have a fantastic activity in mind that will really help the trainees to learn, of course start designing your session around that activity but most trainers should start with setting an aim for the session and then writing the objectives or statement bearing in mind that very useful phrase ‘by the end of the session you will be able to…”

So by the end of this blog post, you have picked up 2 tips that you can take away and confidently form your own aims and objectives.

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Find out more about the Train the Trainer course or contact us to talk about your training needs.