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Setting Learner Goals


  • give your learner a sense of direction and satisfaction
  • guide lesson planning
  • help you accurately report your agency’s work

Help learners set long-term and short-term goals.

Long- term goals are larger-scale goals that may take years to achieve. For example, a learner who reads at a third grade reading level may have a long-term goal of obtaining a GED.

Short-term goals can be accomplished in smaller increments.  They help learners see continual progress and stay motivated. A short-term goal for the learner above might be to finish a specific pre-GED workbook by the end of the semester.

Follow the SMART acronym when you help learners set goals:






Help your learners define specific goals.  Narrow down broad goals like “learn to speak English better” by asking follow up questions:   

  • Where do you speak English now? With whom?
  • What is most difficult to say or understand?
  • What do you need to say that you can’t say now?

With an Adult Basic Education learner who wants to “learn to read,” you might ask:

  • What do you want to read?
  • Do you need to read at work?
  • Do you want to read to a child?
  • What can’t you do because you can’t read well?
  • What do you read now?

Personal Education Plan (PEP) Template 1
Personal Education Plan (PEP) Template 2

Continually track progress toward goals, to make sure learners feel a sense of satisfaction and stay motivated.  Keep individual learner profiles, to collect capstone projects, end of semester surveys, writing samples and assessment scores.