Assumptions are also called prerequisites! Obviously, we can’t teach EVERYTHING in our training so we make some assumptions about our learners.
When we conduct our task analysis, we may encounter content (facts, concepts, procedures, etc.) that everyone should know. And while these shouldn’t be part of the training, they are critical to the student’s success in the training. These are prerequisites.
Prerequisites put some boundaries on the training. Prerequisites can be very general like having a job responsibility (i.e., network management) to very specific like being able to do a specific task (i.e., using the File functions of Windows).
A simple way to look at prerequisites is to reexamine the task analysis and draw a line between the unique tasks and the common tasks/knowledge. We consider this the prerequisite organization chart.
Ensuring that prerequisites are met can be very difficult, yet, if the prerequisites AREN’T met, the class suffers. Here are some ways we increase the likelihood that participants will adhere to the prerequisites:
- Send out a precourse letter.
- Talk to students directly.
- Talk to managers directly.
- Provide precourse material.
- Use a precourse assessment.
If you cannot enforce prerequisites, then PLAN FOR IT!