Task analysis in instructional design


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The following article describes the Task Analysis process in Instructional Design.

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Task analysis in instructional design

  1. 1. T a s k A n a l y s i s i n I n s t r u c t i o n a l D e s i g n At this point you should fairly well understand the system or process you are researching. You should know the purpose of the system, the people within the system, and the main goals they are trying to achieve. You should also know the jobs and the associated tasks the system requires. You and your customer or client are now ready to select the tasks to be trained. The information gathered in the systems overview, i.e., surveys, interviews, etc., will aid in your decision making process. When deciding which tasks to train, two guiding factors must be used — effective and efficient. Seek the best program within acceptable costs while meeting the learning intents. Often it helps to select tasks for training by dividing them into three groups: 1. Those that are to be included in a formal learning program. 2. Those that are to be included in On-the-Job-Training (OJT). 3. Those for which no formal or OJT is needed (i.e., informal learning, job performance aids, or self study packets). When selecting tasks to be trained consider the following factors: o Is the training mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Act? o Could a job performance aid or self study packet be used in place of formal training? o Can people be hired that have already been trained? o Is training needed to ensure their behavior does not compromise the company's legal position, i.e., Equal Employment Opportunity, labor relations laws, or state laws? o What will happen if we do not train this task? o What will be the benefits if we do train this task? o If we don't train it, how will the employee learn it? o How will this training help to achieve our goals? After selecting the tasks to be trained, you have to break them down into more manageable chunks so that the learning objectives can be built. In turn, the learning objectives are the basis for creating the entire learning platform. The process of dividing the tasks into more manageable chunk is called a Task Analysis A Task Analysis sequences and describes measurable behaviors (observable if possible) involved in the performance of a task. It also provides a detailed analysis of each task in terms of frequency, difficulty and importance. The analysis starts by observing and
  2. 2. interviewing an exemplary performer (a person who is presently an expert performer) performing the task: When observing the exemplary performer performing the task, note: o Conditions: Tools or equipment needed and the environment the task is performed in. o Performance Measure: How well must it be formed? o Frequency: How often is the task performed (hourly, daily, weekly, etc.)? o Difficulty: Use a standard scale, such as from one to five. o Importance: What place of importance is this task as compared to the performers other tasks? o Steps: Logical steps for performing the task Listed below are a few other questions that might need to be asked: o How critical is the task to the performance of the job? o To what degree is the task performed individually, or is part of a set of collective tasks? o If a subset of a set of collective tasks, what is the relationship between the various tasks?
  3. 3. o What is the consequence if the task is performed incorrectly or is not performed at all? o To what extent can the task be trained on the job? o What level of task proficiency is expected following training? o What information is needed to perform the task? What is the source of information? o Does execution of the task require coordination between other personnel or with other tasks? o Are the demands (perceptual, cognitive, psychomotor or physical) imposed by the task excessive? o How much time is needed to perform this task? o What prerequisite skills, knowledge, and abilities are required to perform the task? o What behaviors distinguish good performers from poor performers? To learn about other various types of task analysis instruments, read Task Analysis Tools: Various Approaches for Analyzing Tasks R e f e r e n c e s U.S. Army Field Artillery School (1984). A System Approach To Training (Course Student textbook). ST - 5K061FD92 U.S. Department of Defense Training Document (1975). Pamphlet 350-30. August, 1975. N e x t S t e p s Go to the next section: Build Performance Measures Return to the Table of Contents Read more about Tasks Read Task Analysis Tools: Various Approaches for Analyzing Tasks Analysis Templates (contains several analysis templates)