Aims vs Objectives
Aims vs Objectives
Although many of us use the words Aims and Objectives interchangeably there is a difference between these two words. It is important to bear in mind that aims and objectives both refer to goals and targets. An aim refers to an overall target that needs to be achieved. Objective, on the other hand, refers to a specific requirement that needs to be met to accomplish the overall aim. This is the main difference between an aim and an objective. Through this article let us examine the differences between an aim and an objective.
What is an Aim?
Every program has a target to reach. An aim identifies that target using a general statement. It is usual to undertake some measurements to achieve the aims. There is an element of abstraction when it comes to mentioning an aim. Hence, aims are taken to be general sentences.
The aims are not time-bound. To be more explicit, they are not bound by time when it comes to completing them. For an example let us take a program that aims to increase the literacy level of people between a particular age limit in a rural district. The overall aim is to increase the literacy level. This operates as an ultimate target that needs to be achieved once the program has been completed. The nature of an objective is a bit different to an aim. Now let us move on to objectives.
What is an Objective?
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 more specific when compared to an aim. There is another important difference between an aim and an objective. It is natural that objectives are time-bound in character. Objectives are accompanied by a time frame that indicates the period 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 five 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. This highlights that an aim is different from an objective. Now let us summarize the difference as follows.
What is the Difference Between Aims and Objectives?
Definitions of Aims and Objectives:
Aims: An aim identifies the target using a general statement.
Objectives: Objectives are measurements that we undertake to achieve the aims.
Characteristics of Aims and Objectives:
Aims: An aim is abstract in character.
Objectives: An objective is more specific in character.
Aims: An aim is not time-bound.
Objectives: An objective is time-bound
In relation to Programs:
Aims: Aim refers to the overall goal that is to be achieved.
Objectives: Objectives refer to the targets that need to be achieved to achieve the aim.
1. “Schoolgirls in Bamozai” by Capt. John Severns, U.S. Air Force – Own work. [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons –
2. “Personal trainer assessing a client’s goals and needs as they write a fitness programme” by www.localfitness.com.au – Own work.[CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons