I have found that carrying out a solid instructional analysis of your learner’s entry behaviors for meeting an instructional goal leads to successful performance-based learning. Carrying out this type of analysis clearly defines the skills and information needed to reach the established instructional goal and objectives. Here a few techniques I have used to help me identify entry behavior base-lines when designing learning courses, workshops, and training, whether it be face-to-face, online/e-learning, or blended.
- Skills Analysis Surveys or Tests: Creating skills-based surveys or tests are useful in determining the range of skills and gaps in skills for a select group of learners. I usually employ this strategy for workshops and training events that require the learner to be at a particular entry behavior prior to instruction. The skills have already been identified in the survey or tool and are used to differentiate instruction or to design the appropriate level of instruction. Here is an example of a survey I created and used to determine skill levels and to individually prescribe the most appropriate workshop or training event. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1bdqbGzdUuChGaFrGeDG7VY-dmI0xKwNvAgdCddtMtmw/viewform?usp=send_form
- Hierarchical and Cluster Mapping: I tend to use these techniques when identifying instructional entry behaviors for a more general audience and instructional goal. I also use it to carefully map out and align performance-based objectives to instructional activities. To begin the process, I start by chunking the instructional goal into what the learner needs to know, understand, and do. This helps me clearly define the learning objectives that are performance and skill-based. It is those objectives that I tend to use a hierarchical analysis for. This type of analysis breaks the skill down into subsequent skills necessary for achieving the desired performance objective. These subsequent skills can easily become learning activities that support the objective and learning goal. Of course, at some point you have the draw the line for the entry behavior/subsequent skill and that will always depend a bit on what you know about the audience you are designing for. Here is an example of how I used the information from a hierarchical and cluster analysis to align the learning goal, objectives and instructional sequence for a blended learning course. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3aBOgbYsCblM1hEenkyemVhcTg/edit?usp=sharing
Doing a thorough instructional analysis allows me to design and develop learning that allows for all participants to succeed in reaching the identified learning goal. Without this type of analysis, the risk of creating gaps in instructional sequence and information increases and can leave learners frustrated and with a lack of success. I have found instructional analysis especially important when designing for the complex situation of blended learning and online learning. To read more on this, please visit my blog post : Blended Content and Assignments- Avoiding the Confusion https://amyparent.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/week-4-blended-content-and-assignments-avoiding-the-confusion/
I’d love to hear how you approach instructional analysis and how it benefits your design and development.