Aims vs Objectives
*Aims and objectives differ in terms of specification
*Objectives time-bound, aims are not time-bound
*Objectives are SMART in character
Aims and objectives are two words that might appear to have same meaning in the sense that both of them indicate goals and targets. Strictly speaking both of them differ when it comes to their inner meaning.
Every program has a target to reach. An aim identifies that target by means of a general statement. It is usual to undertake some measurements to achieve the aims. Objectives are nothing but these measurements that we undertake to achieve the aims.
It is important to note that aims and objectives differ in terms of specification. An objective is generally more specific when compared to an aim. There is an element of abstraction when it comes to mentioning an aim. Hence aims are taken to be general sentences.
There is another important difference between an aim and an objective. It is natural that objectives are time-bound in character. The aims on the contrary are not time-bound for that matter. They are not bound by time when it comes to completing them. Objectives are accompanied by time frame that indicates the period of time within which they have to be completed.
Any project or program for that matter has an objective that is time-bound. The objective of a training program may be to produce 50 experts in a certain field in say 5 years. The aim of the same training program may be to produce 50 experts in a certain field.
It can thus be said that objectives are SMART in character. SMART is a conglomeration of specification, measurement, accuracy, reason and time. An aim on the contrary does not fall into the category of something measured by SMART.
SMART also explained as Specific (clear and well defined), Measurable, Achievable, Realistic (within the availability of resources, knowledge and time, also relevant to your business), Timely.
The difference between aims and objectives:
An objective is more specific in character whereas an aim is abstract in character.
An objective is time-bound whereas an aim is not time-bound.