We now know what people are supposed to be able to do as a result of the training (objectives) and we have assessments to help us know when they’ve met the objectives. The third instructional design step is to look closely at the work that participants need to perform in order to achieve the objective — we need to analyze the tasks and determine HOW the work is supposed to be done.
We can determine HOW the work is done in a number of ways:
- Observe the job.
- Review job descriptions.
- Review performance standards.
- Do the job.
- Involve participants (interviews, questionnaires, logs/diaries).
- Interview managers.
- Assessment centers (role plays).
We create a task list and then detail the steps within the task and document the decision points within the steps. Use sticky notes — one per step — to record tasks that the learner/user must perform.
See the diagram for a task analysis of changing the temperature in the room — rectangle for action and diamond for decision.
The point is to identify the tasks and knowledge required to perform the task. For example, the task, “Locate thermostat” assumes that the person knows what a thermostat looks like and knows the typical places thermostats would be located. Are those assumptions we want to make?
Now we know exactly what people are supposed to do and how we need them to do it. This leads us to the knowledge they need in order to perform these tasks. Our next step is to Identify Prerequisites.