The following was part of a recent email I received:
When you are writing up your activities [for the FUNdoing.com/blog], I would find it really helpful to have an added header that includes the activity's goals and/or objectives at the top of the description. Even though I was familiar with a number of the activities you described in the recent [FUNdoing] Friday emails [June 12th, the Group Juggle Variations & June 24th, the Mr. & Mrs. Wright Collection], I re-read the descriptions several times because the activities had twists and therefore I wasn't sure whether the typical goals/objectives had shifted.
This email inspired me to share my perspective about, what Pamela phrases, "the activity's goals and/or objectives..." (Thanks Pamela for the request and inspiration.)
The short version: It is very common for goals and objectives to be considered synonymous - this can happen when a goal is woven into an objective (totally fine when done with purpose, in my opinion). For clarity, I separate the two when training educators (e.g., team builders). In most cases, objectives originate from the educator (i.e., team builder, programmer, teacher, curriculum developer). Goals are created by participants - especially, during teambuilding programs for practicing the behaviors related to goal setting.
If you are happy with, and already feel comfortable with these distinctions, you might not need to dive into the long version below. I have found (over the past 20 years), that clearing up grey areas for learners (e.g., synonymous terms), practice seems to be clearer. (How about this one: What's the distinction between processing, debriefing, reviewing, reflection? How do you explain this to new learners?)
Here's a long version - the way I teach the concepts of objectives and goals. My 'goal' here is to share my thinking in under 500 words in order for you to get the idea (expanding on the idea can be for another day).
In the context of teambuilding programs, there are two kinds of objectives:
Literally, what is expected based on the activity description. For example: Hand off what's in your hand to the person on your right or left based on the language in the story. (Activity: Mr. & Mrs. Wright). Isn't this a goal Chris? Good question. After reading the 'Goals' section below you will see the distinction. Another quick example. Toss this object around the group as quickly as possible following these rules..... (Activity: Basic Group Juggle - video of the basics)
Everyone participating in the activity is made aware of the objective through the directions (well, they are told, but awareness might be limited).
I describe these as possible learnings. When a client asks me to 'work on' certain concepts with a group or help them learn something (e.g., communication, trust, leadership, problem-solving, relationship-building, helping, having fun), I consider and program activities that, I believe, will help the group practice the concepts. (My considerations are based on my experiences with the activities I know.) My plan is to 'facilitate' towards the clients desired objectives - facilitated objectives.
Participants in the program may or may not be fully aware of all the facilitated objectives I have planned. This depends on the context of the group. For example, based on program/learning objectives, it might be an advantage to share facilitated objectives with an adult group, but with a youth group it might not be necessary.
Goal-setting is the common term for an expectation one wants to meet (personally or as a group). We don't hear (or use) the term objective-setting. So, I like to purposefully separate the concept of goals from objectives. As noted in the context of team building, an objective is presented by the educator, goals are developed and pursued by the participant(s).
In the most straight-forward way I can share this, there are two types of goals we tend to use during teambuilding. Product-oriented goals and process-oriented goals. A product-oriented goal is, most often, a result of work completed - often a number or time. A process-oriented goal is usually something someone or the group agrees to do during the work that leads to completing a task.
In theMr. & Mrs. Write activity, a product-oriented goal might be for participant to have only one object in his/her hand at the end of the story. A process-oriented goal might be for everyone to have permission to call, "Stop" if there is a problem during the activity or if someone needs some help on their way to meeting the product-oriented goal.
In the Basic Group Juggle activity, a product-oriented goal can be a certain time to achieve. The process-oriented goal might be to call out names before tossing an object in order to increase the level of catching success.
In the midst of problem-solving towards the objective, the group develops goals to strive for - hence, practicing goal-setting behaviors in order to meet objectives.
Professional Development Opportunity
If you're up for a little professional development challenge, dive into the Mr. & Mrs. Wright Collection & Group Juggle Variations FUNdoing Blog posts and write up the Activity Objectives, Facilitated Objectives and a Goal for each one of the activities. If you would like, send them to me and I'll provide you with some feedback.
I hope you found these distinctions useful. We'd love to hear your thinking on the subject. Leave us a Comment below.
All the best,
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
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Dr. Chris Cavert is an educator, author and trainer. His passion is helping team builders learn and grow.