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Defining Audience & Goals

Educator and students

As you refine your program's goals, structure, and content, you will also be developing your educational outreach plan. Before you can proceed, you must first define the goals, objectives, and audience for your educational outreach elements. What audience(s) would you like to reach, and what messages, experience, or content do you want them to come away with or master?

Goals define the ultimate purpose of your project. They tend to be abstract and broad in scope. For example, your goal may be to improve literacy skills or to increase awareness of the importance of technology in our economy.

Objectives, on the other hand, are more specific and concrete. They describe what you believe you can reasonably achieve through your project. For example, in a program that examines high-speed roller coasters, you can state that "middle school students will learn the math skills needed to determine the rate of a moving object." You can later use your evaluation to measure how effectively you've reached your objectives.

An integral part of defining your goals and objectives is determining your target audience(s). You can't define one without the other. In fact, you must have a well-defined target audience in order to know what content to develop and how best to get it to those you want to reach.

It is important to note that the general audience for a program may be very different from the target audience for your educational outreach, and the way in which these two audiences use the program can vary significantly. For example, the general viewer watching the NOVA program "Galileo's Battle for the Heavens" will have a different purpose from the high school science student who is looking at challenges of scientific discovery; or from the high school Western history student who is examining the power of the church; or from the principal who is trying to get teachers to think differently. Since the general audience and the target audience for your educational outreach may vary, the goals for overall series and for your educational outreach may vary as well.

Keep your goals, objectives, and audience as focused as possible. While you may decide to target more than one audience through different elements of your plan, you run the risk of overextending your limited resources. This is especially true when the interests of different funders tempt you to develop potentially incompatible goals and target audiences.

In this section:
>  Defining Audience
    & Goals

    Collaborating with

    Educational Content

    Choosing Appropriate

    & Scheduling

    Rights Needs

    Evaluating Your Efforts

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