Wednesday, March 16, 2011

aims, goals and objectives

When you have something you want to accomplish, it is important to set aims, goals and objectives including strategies for meeting them. Aims without goals and objectives may be very difficult to meet. Equally goals without objectives can never be accomplished while objectives without goals will never get you to where you want to be. All aspects can be achieved with good strategies and all these terms are separate but related and help us to accomplish our plans. This paper aims at making distinctions amongst the following terms or concepts; aims, goals, objectives and strategies. This distinction will be based on the knowledge gained from the course and other literatures available.

In everyday life we tend to use the terms aims, goals, objectives or strategies interchangeably. Within the educational lexicon, for the past twenty years curriculum scholars, planners and administrators have been trying to standardize terms so that they refer to very specific curricular components. The following definitions are broadly accepted by groups trying to standardize curricular terms so that they are not confusing to readers and users. Aims are long term overall results you expects to see at the end of the project or programme. Goals are a means through which aims are met. They are limited in terms of longation as compared to aims that you want to accomplish at the end. Objectives are concrete attainments that can be achieved by following a certain number of steps in meeting the goals and aims. Goals and objectives are often used interchangeably, but the main difference comes in their level of concreteness. Objectives are very concrete, whereas goals are less structured. The diagramme below show the structure that is followed in arranging aims goals and objectives.

The diagramme below shows a clear distinction of the terms aims, goals and objectives. These are followed by the distinction of strategies following the table.
Definition Example
Aims Aims are general statements that provide direction or intent to educational action. Aims are usually written in amorphous terms using words like: learn, know, understand, appreciate, and these are not directly measurable. Aims may serve as organizing principles of educational direction for more than one grade. Indeed these organizing principles may encompass the continuum of educational direction for entire programs, subject areas or the district. Students will understand and become proficient at identifying the different types of spoken English.
Goals Goals are statements of educational intention which are more specific than aims. Goals too may encompass an entire program, subject area, or multiple grade levels. They may be in either amorphous language or in more specific behavioral terms. Students will be able to identify and use American slang terms and phrases.
(This example is a subset of the aim above, but the area becomes more specific. This goal moves from generic spoken English to the more detailed area of American slang. One verb used is still identify, although this goal does not specify how students are to identify, and the verb use has been added. The objectives related to this goal should specify how the students will identify and use new knowledge.)
Objectives Objectives are usually specific statements of educational intention which delineate either general or specific outcomes.
There are advantages and disadvantages to different types of objectives.
• Behavioral objectives
o Holistic objectives
• Nonbehavioral objectives
o Problem solving objectives
o Expressive activities that lead to expressive outcomes.
Objectives can be written in a number of ways. Currently, most objectives are written in behavioral terms. Behavioral objectives usually employ observable verbiage and can be divided into specific domains -- cognitive, affective, and physical.
• Cognitive: Students will identify and list 5 slang terms they have heard from their peers.
• Affective: Student will choose 3 of the most offensive slang terms from a list developed by the entire class.
• Physical: Students will create expressive gestures to go with their favorite slang terms.
strategies Strategy refers to a plan of action designed to achieve a particular aim, goal or objective. The word is of military origin, deriving from the Greek word strategos, which roughly translates as general.

A strategy is a scheme: an elaborate and systematic plan of action
When I enter class, I will ask students verbally to get a pen or pencil and a paper or book and the instructions as highlighted in aims, goals and objectives above. While they are writing, I will have to check exactly what they are doing to ensure that they are doing the right thing.

Quinn says "a strategy is the pattern or plan that integrates an organization's major goals, policies, and action sequences into a cohesive whole. A well-formulated strategy helps to marshal and allocate an organization's resources into a unique and viable posture based on its relative internal competencies and shortcomings, anticipated changes in the environment, and contingent moves by intelligent opponents." All types of businesses require some sort of strategy in order to be successful; otherwise their efforts and resources will be spent haphazardly and likely wasted. Although strategy formulation tends to be handled more formally in large organizations, small businesses too need to develop strategies in order to use their limited resources to compete effectively against larger firms.
Formulation of an effective business strategy requires managers to consider three main players—the company, its customers, and the competition which according to Kenichi Ohmae in his book The Mind of the Strategist. These three players are collectively referred to as the strategic triangle. "In terms of these three key players, strategy is defined as the way in which a corporation endeavors to differentiate itself positively from its competitors, using its relative corporate strengths and weaknesses to better satisfy customer needs," Ohmae explained. Participative strategic development also may help companies to retain key employees, because employees gain satisfaction by being able to direct and see the results of their efforts. "Retaining these highly skilled and trained professionals will become increasingly important as knowledge has more and more to do with the company's ability to build and maintain a competitive advantage," Wall and Wall noted. Finally, participating in strategy formulation may enable managers to make better use of their time. This benefit is particularly helpful because time is always limited as companies try to do more with less people in meeting their aims, goals and objectives. Their strategies or course of action is taken by highly effective and efficient professionals to meet their expectation in a limited period of time.
It can be concluded that aims are what we intend to see as the overall result. Goals are alittle specific that aims. Objectives are more specific that aims and goals and strategies look at the line of action or the small bits of things to be done in order to meet the aims, goals and the objectives.

Mintzberg, Henry, and James Brian Quinn. The Strategy Process: Concepts and Contexts. Prentice-Hall, 1992.
Ohmae, Kenichi. The Mind of the Strategist in metting aims, goals and objectives: Business Planning for Competitive Advantage. Penguin, 1982.
Porter, Michael E. Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors. Free Press, 1980.
Wall, Stephen J., and Shannon Rye Wall. "The Evolution (Not the Death) of Strategy." Organizational Dynamics. Autumn 1995.

1 comment:

  1. It seems to me that to cope with something you should definitely define some goals and aims. Motivation is another factor to help here: 15 Rules of Motivation.