ABCD's of SMART Objectives

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Program planning and development presentation slides for online training webinar on writing better program objectives developed for Cooperative Extension Service professionals in Louisiana.

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  • It’s that time of year for Extension professionals – time to complete our performance evaluation portfolios and our new plans of work for 2014-15. Each of you will be determining your professional goals and objectives for the upcoming year in section 5 of your portfolio. There is a book – “The Oz Principle” by Roger Connors, Tom Smith and Craig Hickman. “The Oz Principle” addresses how to be more personally accountable. One of the catch phrases of the book is about working “above the line”. To assist you in working “above the line” here is a short lesson on developing better program objectives. Let’s learn about the ABCD’s of SMART objectives.
  • Hello, I am Becky White, a specialist in the Organizational Development and Evaluation unit. My role is to assist Extension professionals in program planning, implementing and evaluation. I also help colleagues in developing grant proposals to enhance their Extension programs.
  • You may have heard this quote by Yogi Berra, a famous baseball player and manager.“If you don’t know where you’re going, how are you gonna’ know when you get there?”In our Extension world we must plan our programs to be effective and accountable. Part of that program planning process is to develop broad mission and vision statements, as well as program goals and objectives. Each year we complete a portfolio in the spring. In the fifth and final section of your individual portfolio you must complete your next year’s goals and objectives. This mini-lesson focuses on developing better program objectives for your portfolio.
  • Before focusing on writing better objectives, lets briefly review a few foundation steps for effective Extension program planning. As you can see in this illustration we should have broad MISSION and VISION statements for our outreach areas like Agriculture, FCS and 4-H. We also should have established a variety of PROGRAM GOALS/OUTCOMES for our work that are somewhat broad and not measurable. Then we have PROGRAM OBJECTIVES that are more specific that should be constructed to be measureable. All of these program planning components help give us direction to guide us in our programming efforts.
  • So how are goals and objectives different? Let’s review definitions of goals and objectives.A goal is an overarching principle that guides decision making.Objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely steps that can be taken to meet the goal.
  • To write a SMART objective you should think:SpecificMeasureableAttainableRelevant andTimely
  • As you are developing your plan of work for the upcoming year, you should write your objectives keeping in mind the SMART method. This is a small personal professional step toward working above the line and being more accountable as an Extension professional. So as you think about your upcoming year of program objectives, ask yourself these questions?Is it specific?– What exactly will you accomplish?Is it measurable? – How will you know when you have reached this objective?Is it achievable?– Is achieving this objective realistic with effort and commitment?Is it relevant?– Why is this objective significant to the program?Is it timely? – When will you achieve this objective?
  • Another tip in writing SMART objectives is to always use active verbs. There are many active verbs to choose from but not all mesh well with our Extension outreach methods.Here you see a few active verbs that I think are appropriate for our unique Extension outreach methods and also consider our logic model framework for program planning. Generally in our extension program planning and evaluation designs we evaluate the effectiveness of our programs by measuring changes in participant learning and participant actions.
  • There are some active verbs to AVOID when writing your SMART goals. They include:To knowTo understandTo enjoyTo appreciateTo graspTo comprehendTo believeBecause these active verbs are abstract rather than concrete, these particular active verbs are very hard to measure and should not be used.
  • Another way to strengthen your SMART objectives is to write them using the ABCD components for writing SMART objectives.Your SMART objective should include mention of an audience, behavior, conditions and degree.
  • So when developing your SMART objectives, think of including ABCD components.Audience – program participantsBehavior – expected learning/behavior changes/results Condition – Circumstances that lead to change/resultWhen change/results are expected to occurDegree – How much change occurs (%) for how many participants (#)
  • I have a format to help you in writing SMART objectives.If you notice I have color coded the format to ensure that all of the ABCD’s are included in the objective.(When change will occur) + (circumstances that leads to change) + (who/what will be impacted) + (how much change occurs) + (what learning or behavior will change)
  • Let’s review some examples of SMART objectives (objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely) using the ABCD technique in my suggested format. For background, I have included what you might select within our Dynamics planning and reporting system for an initiative area of Extension work.So let’s take the Extension initiative area of horticulture. Within our dynamics system we have preset program outcomes built into the system. I view our preset Dynamic outcome choices as roughly equivalent to program GOALS. This is because they are rather broad statements and not written in the SMART format (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely) . The outcome/goal I selected for this example is - Participants adopt recommended practices for environmental sustainability.The content area within our dynamics system that could be selected is Volunteer Development or Horticulture – Home Gardens.So in developing this objective I considered the SMART system of objectives (objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely), I considered the ABCD method of developing smart objectives (audience, behavior, condition and degree) and I used the format that I previously shared. Let’s review what I developed.– In 2014 -15, of twenty (20) gardeners participating in XYZ Parish MG training program, 85% will achieve the Certified MG designation by mastering the MG curriculum and providing 30 hours in volunteer service to the local Extension Service.If you notice I have color coded the objective to highlight the inclusion of ABCD components suggested for improved SMART objectives.To check behind myself I would ask these questions:Is it SMART?specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timelyDoes it include ABCD components? (audience, behavior, condition and degree) Is it written in the format provided for SMART objectives? - (When change will occur) + (circumstances that leads to change) + (who/what will be impacted) + (how much change occurs) + (what learning or behavior will change)
  • So let’s say I wanted to develop program objectives in the area of water quality as it is related to agriculture, specifically crops. Here is another example of a SMART objective I developed. Within the Dynamics system I selected the initiative area of Environment and Natural Resources. The outcome/goal I selected for this example is - Participants adopt recommended practices for environmental sustainability.The content area within our dynamics system that could be selected is Environment – Water Management (Quality).So in developing this program objective for water quality I considered SMART system of objectives (objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely), I considered the ABCD method of developing smart objectives (audience, behavior, condition and degree) and I used the format that I previously shared. Let’s review what I developed.– In 2014 -15, of forty (40) farmers participating in XYZ Parish Crop Production Program, 50% will adopt three (3) or more recommended best management practices concerning nutrient management.To check behind myself I would ask these questions:Is it SMART? specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timelyDoes it include ABCD components? (audience, behavior, condition and degree) Is it written in the format provided for SMART objectives? - (When change will occur) + (circumstances that leads to change) + (who/what will be impacted) + (how much change occurs) + (what learning or behavior will change)
  • Here is an example of a SMART objective I developed in the area of Human Nutrition and Food. Within the Dynamics system I selected the initiative area of Human Nutrition and Food (Adults) The outcome/goal I selected for this example is - Participants adopt recommended practices for healthy living.The content area within our dynamics system that could be selected is Healthy Living -- Foods & Nutrition/Dietary GuidelinesSo in developing this program objective for Foods and Nutrition (Adults) I considered SMART system of objectives (objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely), I considered the ABCD method of developing smart objectives (audience, behavior, condition and degree) and I used the format that I previously shared. Let’s review what I developed.In 2014-15,of forty (40) participants completing all 8 of the Let’s Eat for the Health of It sessions, 80% will adopt 3 of 5 recommended health practices (increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, decrease consumption of sugar and salt, increase consumption of calcium, decrease consumption of saturated and trans fats, increase routine personal activity).Again, to check behind myself I would ask these questions:Is it SMART? specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timelyDoes it include ABCD components? (audience, behavior, condition and degree) Is it written in the format provided for SMART objectives? - (When change will occur) + (circumstances that leads to change) + (who/what will be impacted) + (how much change occurs) + (what learning or behavior will change)
  • Here is another example of a SMART objective I developed in the area of Human Nutrition and Food. Within the Dynamics system I selected the initiative area of Human Nutrition and Food (Adults) The outcome/goal I selected for this example is - Participants adopt recommended practices for healthy living.The content area within our dynamics system that could be selected is Healthy Living – Physical Health and FitnessSo in developing this program objective for Foods and Nutrition (Adults) I considered SMART system of objectives, I considered the ABCD method of developing smart objectives and I used the writing format that I previously shared. Let’s review what I developed.In 2014-15,of forty (40) adults participating in XYZ Parish Let’s Eat for the Health of It /America on the Move program, 60% will find a walking partner and/or form a family walking group and walk routinely (2-3 times per week) for 6 weeks.Again, to check behind myself I would ask these questions:Is it SMART? specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timelyDoes it include ABCD components? (audience, behavior, condition and degree) Is it written in the format provided for SMART objectives? - (When change will occur) + (circumstances that leads to change) + (who/what will be impacted) + (how much change occurs) + (what learning or behavior will change)
  • Here is an example of a SMART objective I developed in the area of Youth Development. Within the Dynamics system I selected the initiative area of Youth DevelopmentThe outcome/goal I selected for this example is - Youth are actively engaged in learning and gain masteryThe content area within our dynamics system that I selected is SET (Other)So in developing this program objective for Youth Development, I considered SMART system of objectives, I considered the ABCD method of developing smart objectives and I used the format that I previously shared. Let’s review what I developed.In 2014-15, of eighty (80) youth completing all 5 lessons of the Youth Wetlands Education (SET) program, 70% will increase their awareness, increase their knowledge and change their attitude about wetlands by 25% from pre to post test.Again, to check behind myself I would ask these questions:Is it SMART? specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timelyDoes it include ABCD components? (audience, behavior, condition and degree) Is it written in the format provided for SMART objectives? - (When change will occur) + (circumstances that leads to change) + (who/what will be impacted) + (how much change occurs) + (what learning or behavior will change)
  • Here is another example of a SMART objective I developed in the area of Youth Development. Within the Dynamics system I selected the initiative area of Youth DevelopmentThe outcome/goal I selected for this example is - Youth are actively engaged in learning and gain masteryThe content area within our dynamics system that COULD be selected is SET (Other), or Citizenship, or leadershipSo in developing this program objective for Youth Development, I considered SMART system of objectives, I considered the ABCD method of developing smart objectives and I used the format that I previously shared. Let’s review what I developed.In 2014-15, of eighty (80) youth SET participants of the Youth Wetlands Education (SET) program, 70% will participate in a Wetlands service project and 50% will share knowledge with others.Again, to check behind myself I would ask these questions:Is it SMART? specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timelyDoes it include ABCD components? (audience, behavior, condition and degree) Is it written in the format provided for SMART objectives? - (When change will occur) + (circumstances that leads to change) + (who/what will be impacted) + (how much change occurs) + (what learning or behavior will change)
  • I have developed a SMART Objectives worksheet for your use.After referring to our Louisiana Extension Service Dynamics System and determining your Initiative Area, Outcome, and Content Area you will need to fill in the components below to develop your SMART Program Objective. (Condition - when change will occur) + (Condition - circumstances leading to change) +(who/what will be impacted) +(how much change occurs) + (what learning or behavior will change).= a complete SMART ObjectiveI follow this slide with several examples of completed worksheets
  • Here is a SMART Objective Worksheet in which I have used a previously shared SMART objective example concerning farm nutrient management. You can use a blank version of this worksheet in developing your own SMART Objectives.
  • This example of a completed SMART Objectives worksheet is concerning the topic of human nutrition and health.
  • Here is the blank worksheet you can print out and complete to write better SMART objectives for your portfolio.
  • In summary,Write your objectives using the SMART technique.Make sure they are written as specific, measurable, attainable, and are relevant and timely.
  • Also follow the ABCD method for improving your SMART objectives. Your SMART objective should include mention of an audience, behavior, conditions and degree.
  • Thanks for participating in this online training to help you complete Section 5 of your performance evaluation portfolio with SMART Objectives. If you need additional assistance please email me at bwhite@agcenter.lsu.edu or call.
  • ABCD's of SMART Objectives

    1. 1. Working Above the Line as a Cooperative Extension Service Professional: ABCD’s of SMART Objectives
    2. 2. Rebecca White Professor Organizational Development & Evaluation
    3. 3. If you don’t know where you’re going, how are you gonna’ know when you get there? -Yogi Berra
    4. 4. Program components that help to direct us to where we are going Mission/Vision Goals Objectives VerySpecificVeryBroad Not Measurable Measurable
    5. 5. Definition of Goals/Outcomes and Objectives • A goal or outcome is an overarching principle that guides decision making. • Objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely steps that can be taken to meet the goal.
    6. 6. Writing SMART Objectives
    7. 7. Questions to ask as you write objectives • Specific – What exactly will you accomplish? • Measurable – How will you know when you have reached this objective? • Achievable – Is achieving this objective realistic with effort and commitment? • Relevant – Why is this objective significant to the program? • Timely– When will you achieve this objective?
    8. 8. Use ActiveVerbs when writing SMART Objectives • Change • Complete • Demonstrate • Increase • Identify • List • Name • Recognize • Specify • Adopt • Apply • Complete • Demonstrate • Establish • Initiate • Produce • Show • Use For Short Term Outcomes For Medium Term Outcomes
    9. 9. Active verbs to avoid • To know • To understand • To enjoy • To appreciate • To grasp • To comprehend • To believe
    10. 10. ABCD’S OF SMART OBJECTIVES A - Audience B – Behavior C – Conditions D – Degree
    11. 11. ABCD components for writing better objectives • Audience – program participants • Behavior – expected learning/behavior changes/results • Condition – • Circumstances that lead to change/result • When change/results are expected to occur • Degree – • How much change occurs (%) for how many participants (#)
    12. 12. Format for Writing SMART Objectives (When change will occur) + (circumstances that leads to change) + (who/what will be impacted) + (how much change occurs) + (what learning or behavior will change). • Audience - Purple Behavior - Red Condition - Green Blue - Degree
    13. 13. Smart Objective Examples Using Outcomes (Program Goal) in our Dynamics System • Initiative Area - Horticulture • Outcome/GOAL - Participants adopt recommended practices for environmental sustainability • Content Area – Volunteer Development or Horticulture (Home Gardens) • SMART Objective – In 2014 -15, of twenty (20) gardeners participating in XYZ Parish MG training program, 85% will achieve the Certified MG designation by mastering the MG curriculum and providing 30 hours in volunteer service to the local Extension Service. • Audience - Purple Behavior - Red Condition - Green Blue - Degree
    14. 14. Smart Objective Examples Using Outcomes (Program Goal) in our Dynamics System • Initiative Area – Environment and Natural Resources • Outcome/GOAL - Participants adopt recommended practices for environmental sustainability • Content Area – Environment -- Water Management (Quality) • SMART Objective – In 2014 -15, of forty (40) farmers participating in XYZ Parish Crop Production Program, 50% will adopt three (3) or more recommended best management practices concerning nutrient management. • Audience - Purple Behavior - Red Condition - Green Blue - Degree
    15. 15. Smart Objective Examples Using Outcomes (Program Goal) in our Dynamics System • Initiative Area – Human Nutrition and Food (Adults) • Outcome/GOAL - Participants adopt recommended practices for healthy living • Content Area – Healthy Living -- Foods & Nutrition/Dietary Guidelines • SMART Objective – In 2014-15, of forty (40) participants completing all 8 of the Let’s Eat for the Health of It sessions, 80% will adopt 3 of 5 recommended health practices (increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, decrease consumption of sugar and salt, increase consumption of calcium, decrease consumption of saturated and trans fats, increase routine personal activity). • Audience - Purple Behavior - Red Condition - Green Blue - Degree
    16. 16. Smart Objective Examples Using Outcomes (Program Goal) in our Dynamics System • Initiative Area – Human Nutrition and Food (Adult) • Outcome/GOAL - Participants adopt recommended practices for healthy living • Content Area – Healthy Living – Physical Health and Fitness • SMART Objective – In 2014-15, of forty (40) adults participating in XYZ Parish Let’s Eat for the Health of It /America on the Move program, 60% will find a walking partner and/or form a family walking group and walk routinely (2-3 times per week) for 6 weeks. • Audience - Purple Behavior - Red Condition - Green Blue - Degree
    17. 17. Smart Objective Examples Using Outcomes (Program Goal) in our Dynamics System • Initiative Area – Youth Development • Outcome/GOAL – Youth are actively engaged in learning and gain mastery • Content Area – SET (Other) • SMART Objective – In 2014-15, of eighty (80) youth completing all 5 lessons of the Youth Wetlands Education (SET) program, 70% will increase their awareness, increase their knowledge and change their attitude about wetlands by 25% from pre to post test. • Audience - Purple Behavior - Red Condition - Green Blue - Degree
    18. 18. Smart Objective Examples Using Outcomes (Program Goal) in our Dynamics System • Initiative Area – Youth Development • Outcome/GOAL – Youth are actively engaged in learning and gain mastery • Content Area – SET (Other), or Citizenship, or Leadership • SMART Objective – In 2014-15, of eighty (80) youth SET participants of the Youth Wetlands Education (SET) program, 70% will participate in a Wetlands service project and 50% will share knowledge with others. • Audience - Purple Behavior - Red Condition - Green Blue - Degree
    19. 19. Inspecting Your SMART Objectives
    20. 20. ABCD’S OF SMART OBJECTIVES A - Audience B – Behavior C – Conditions D – Degree
    21. 21. THANKS FOR WATCHING Rebecca White bwhite@agcenter.lsu.edu
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