Online Learning Pedagogy

Professional Learning Cycle and SMART Goals

It's time to set your Professional Development SMART Goal! This week, in your Weekly Reflection Report, you will be identifying a goal you want to work on this semester as you improve your online facilitation skills. This process of goal setting is part of the BYU-Idaho Online Instructor Professional Learning Cycle:

  1. Set SMART goals
  2. Participate in professional development
  3. Share and discuss learning in teaching groups
  4. Self-Assess your progress and identify future goals

At the Inauguration of President Gilbert (Sept 2015), he challenged us to "strengthen the scholarship of learning and teaching" here at BYU-Idaho. The Professional Learning Cycle is the method that we have adopted to allow us to rise to this challenge. Watch this video for more details about the Professional Learning Cycle and setting your SMART goals.

This week is the week to set your SMART goal. Many instructors aren't sure what the topic of their goal should be, so we've compiled some examples of some effective and not-so-effective goals for you to review. 

Less effective goals:

  • My goal is to get a teaching contract for next semester. 
    • This goal is less effective because it doesn't directly improve the learning experience for students.
  • I want to improve how I facilitate discussion boards
    • Although this goal is a worthy goal, it is less effective because it isn't specific or measurable. 
  • I want to learn to use I-Learn
    • This goal could be more effective if it identified specific areas where the instructor is deficient with I-Learn and if it was tied to measurable outcomes.
  • I will read all of my students' discussion board posts
    • This goal is less effective because it doesn't directly improve the learning experience, nor is it specific or measurable. 

More Effective Goals:

We hope that the examples above help you jump start some brainstorming and innovation. Now is the time for us to elevate our scholarship of teaching and learning. May our students be blessed with the Spirit of the Lord as we become disciple leaders and life-long learners at His University. 

You need to be a member of BYU-Idaho Online Instruction Community to add comments!

Join BYU-Idaho Online Instruction Community

Email me when people reply –


  • This really helps me a lot. Thanks for the great examples.

  • I used to struggle picking a goal each semester. Now I look back at the previous semester's course evaluation and pick the item I scored lowest in and it becomes my new goal for improvement. Using SMART I can then write the goal specifically and the goal can be measured by an increase on the next evaluation, because the goal comes from evaluations I know it is attainable and relevant to teaching online at BYUI. Thanks to semester timelines the goals always have a due date within a single semester.

    • Jennifer, I love the idea of picking what you scored the lowest in from your evaluation and then making that your SMART goal. This area can then become your strength. Great idea. Thank you for sharing.

  • Thank you for this post! This really helps me start thinking of measurable goals! I really appreciate all the instruction for us as "instructors!"

  • Thanks Tyler!   I'm loving the Peer Mentoring program you organized....that is my Smart Goal this semester.   Also, I also love the book reading challenge that the Online Management Development Team is reading and know I can improve in exercise, sleep, and other areas. 

This reply was deleted.