Smith and Ragan, “Instructional Analysis: Analyzing the Learning Task”

“The process of task analysis,” Smith and Ragan note, “transforms goal statements into a form that can be used to guide subsequent design” (p. 76). This form “describe[s] what the learners should know or be able to do at the completion of instruction and the prerequisite skills and knowledge that learners will need in order to achieve those goals” (p. 76). The primary steps in conducting such an analysis are:

1. Write a learning goal. 2. Determine the types of learning of the goal. 3. Conduct an information-processing analysis of that goal. 4. Conduct a prerequisite analysis and determine the type of learning of the prerequisites. 5. Write learning objectives for the learning goal and each of the prerequisites. 6. Write test specifications. (p. 76)

I also found useful the authors’ inclusion of Robert Gagné’s taxonomy of learning outcomes, comprised of five “domains” “verbal information (or declarative knowledge), intellectual skills; cognitive strategies, attitudes, and psychomotor skills” (79). Again, I don’t come from an extensive education background, but I do have some training on this front, and I’m surprised (and a little annoyed) that I haven’t come across these notions (i.e. this taxonomy) before.



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