Start Reaching your Educational Goals Today!

By Brenda on June 24th, 2011



How to Reach your Learning Goals

Everyone starts out with the best intentions of reaching their goals. But why do so many people fall short? Research shows that we often need more than just desire to accomplish something. We need a specific goal that will keep us on track when things start to get difficult.

Author and educator Skip Downing shows us how in his best-selling textbook On Course that there is a simple method anyone can implement that will help them achieve their goals. He calls it the DAPPS method. The DAPPS method acronym stands for Dated, Achievable, Personal, Positive and Specific. This technique works well for any area of your life including education, career, and personal goals.


How many goals have you ever met without a specific deadline? Without setting a deadline we typically say to ourselves. “I’ll get to it tomorrow.” For example, if you want to go back to college and get your degree than sit down with a calendar and set a firm date and circle it on your calendar in red. After all, when you give yourself a specific target you’re more likely to hit the mark. Let’s look at some examples:

Undated goal: “I’d like to go back to school”

Dated goal: “I’m going to start school on August 30, 2011”


You want to set goals for yourself that are realistic. That’s not to say you shouldn’t try to stretch yourself a little bit but making a goal too difficult will stop you dead in your tracks before you even start. Let’s say that you need 40 more credits to complete your online bachelor’s degree and you have set a date of August 30 to re-enroll. With that information let’s look at some examples:

Unachievable goal: “I’m going to take an overload of 20 credits per semester and finish in just two semesters”

Achievable goal: “I’ve got a full-time job and a family so I think I’ll take 10 credits per quarter to finish my degree”


You’re more likely to achieve a goal that is YOUR goal and not someone else’s. Personal goals are the ones that are driven by inner passion and desire.


Research shows that positive reinforcement motivates people much more than negative reinforcement. Your goals should be positive and inspire feelings of hope and accomplishment. It’s better to focus on where you’re going rather than focusing on where you don’t want to go. For example,

Negative goal: “My goal is to just not fail my math class this semester”

Positive goal: “My goal for math this semester is to get a B”


Being specific with your goals is critically important. A level of specificity means they can be measured. Here’s an example:

Specific: “I want to go back to school starting August 30, 2011 and start an online associate’s degree in Criminal Justice”

Unspecific: “I think I want to go back to school”

When setting your next set of goals implement the DAPPS Method and you’ll find yourself meeting the goals you never did before.


Category: Associates Degrees,Bachelors Degrees,Other and General,Uncategorized