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What is Goal Based Learning?

Let’s play a game. I will think of a task, and I want you to imagine how to get that

task done. Then read on to see if we both went through the same journey to

complete that process.

Today my task is purchasing milk from the grocery store. Please answer the

following questions.

1. How are you getting to the grocery store?

a. Walking

b. Car

c. Bike

d. Bus


2. Which grocery store are you going to?

a. Logos

b. Metro

c. Shoppers Drug Mart

d. Farmers Market


3. What Kind of milk are you getting?

a. Almond milk

b. 2% milk


c. Lactose free milk

4. How are you going to pay

a. Cash

b. Credit

c. Grift card


Which answers did you pick? If you picked, B, D, A, A, you and I are went on the

same journey to purchase Milk. However, more then likely, we both had different

answers. Although our answers may be different, we were all still able to achieve the

ultimate goal of purchasing milk.

The idea of this exercise is to show that there are many different ways to get to the

end product. For example, while Johnny might be best suited for journey, Katie may

lack some of the resources, to achieve what seems so logical and easy for Johnny.

When we speak about learning through a goal-centered environment, it is up to us

to choose our own path. As coaches, it is not our job to tell our players how to get to

the goal, rather we must give them the tools to for them to problem solve and reach

their ultimate goal. For example, rather then making the decision of which grocery

store you should go to I could instead give you a map with the location of each store


to better help you make a decision. This way, rather then giving you the answer I

instead gave you more information, which allowed you to make the decision. We

should strive to give information while at the same time not make decisions

for our players and students.

As this happens, our players will undoubtedly begin to face challenges and as

coaches, that’s when we are really tested. It is human nature for us to help those in

need. But as the saying goes, give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a

Man To Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime.

To go back to the example, what if you broke your leg? It would be unrealistic for

you to walk to the store. What could you do now to fix that problem?

I’m sure you have a hundred ideas going through head. As a coach, my job would be

to help you face that challenge but again not make the decision for you. Do you

know anyone that would drive you? What about a driving service?

Maybe you decided on calling a friend, an uber or a taxi. Again, the idea is that as a

coach I did not make that decision for you. Rather, I found a way to help you

discover, and created a positive environment for the discussion, which ultimately

allowed you to make the decision. Remember, If I was the one that made the

decision it was really me who achieved the goal not you.

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