Read Chapter 2, Identifying instructional goals using Front End Analysis, from Dick, Carey, & Carey
It is comforting to know that there are proven models available to guide us through our instructional planning as we saw in Lesson 3. Models are the road maps that help us get to where we need to go. But first, we must know where we need to go. Then we can use the road map to help us reach that end point. The needs assessment and goal statement are the first steps in helping us do this.
The instructional design process begins with analyzing the need. In a needs assessment,
we look at the performance of the individuals within a specific situation or environment
and compare this performance with what is expected or desired. In other words, we
compare what they are doing to what they need to do. The gap that exists between the two
is known as the need. A good needs analysis is itself a process. In it we identify the
problematic performance, the individuals that are displaying the problematic performance,
the evidence that leads us to identify the problem, and suggest multiple solutions that could
potentially address the gap and resolve the problem. Finally, we decide which of the
solutions could be addressed with instruction.
Our problematic performance may be that students are not getting their homework turned in on time, professional drivers are not following their safety protocols, or workers are not arriving back from lunch on time. In examining the evidence that points to the problem, we may wonder why people are not doing what they are supposed to be doing. This is where a Performance Analysis can help. Robert Mager and Peter Pipe (1997) have described a procedure for analyzing and identifying the nature and cause of human performance problems. In their book, "Analyzing Performance Problems or You Really Oughta Wanna", they provide a systematic approach for analyzing a problem and provide a flowchart to demonstrate the process. Mager and Pipe tell us that, "Solutions to problems are like keys in locks; they don't work if they don't fit. And if solutions aren't the right ones, the problem doesn't get solved".
Mager and Pipe's model is easy-to-follow that would be worthwhile for you to review. We have provided their flowchart and a quick-reference checklist that outlines each step in the chart. Take some time to look it over. If you are interested in learning more about their process, we urge you to check out their book. The checklist that follows the flowchart will help you being, but it cannot adequately cover all the details of the process.
Because of the improvements that instruction can make in the performance of students or employees, it is often selected as the answer to many problems that occur in our everyday life, classroom, and work place. However, is it possible that our students already know how to turn their homework in on time, our drivers actually do know the safety protocols, or our employees really do know how to read a clock? Would more instruction address the problem?
If, after a performance analysis, you determine that the need is the result of a lack of skills or the knowledge to perform the skill, then instruction can be developed to address the need. Your need is now an instructional need. If the problem stems from other factors, such as a lack of practice or simple reminders as could be the case with our students, drivers, and employees in the previous examples, then additional instruction would not be the solution.
During the needs assessment the designer identifies the problem, possible causes of the
problem, identifies multiple solutions that could be implemented to resolve the problem,
and determines which involve instruction. With this information the designer can focus on
a specific topic and create a goal for the intended learners. The goal statement will direct
all subsequent design decisions and will direct what it taught.
Goals indicate our intended learners. A brief statement or phrase of who these individuals are helps to focus the reader’s attention on the individuals as intended learners and performers of the actions stated in the goal.
Goals are stated in terms of what a specific group of individuals will be able to do when they have completed the instruction. It can address new skills, knowledge, or attitudes that the individuals need to acquire.
Goal are written for the future. We need to consider how the new skill, knowledge, or attitude will be used in the performance context. The performance context is a future, real-world place where the learners will use the new skill, knowledge, or attitude gained from your instructional module. It requires us to think beyond an upcoming test or a project later in the school year. It requires us to think outside-the-box and provide real world functionality to whatever our intended learners need to gain.
Finally, goals include the tools the intended learners will use when they perform the skill or use the knowledge in the performance context. By identifying this, we are better able to focus on the skills needed to operate the tool and create a learning environment that replicates, as closely as possible, the eventual performance environment.
Good goal statements are succinct and to-the-point. They are positive and direct statements of what the learners will be able to do . It includes:
One last thing to remember: sometimes there are environmental factors that influence what can be addressed in a goal statement and how it will be addressed. Factors such as available facilities and administrative decisions can have an impact on how much we can hope to achieve through an instructional unit. Before we delve into a project that will be impossible to implement, we should consider the following:
This assignment begins your work on your Instructional Design Project. As you learned in
this lesson, the first step in the instructional design process is the needs assessment. You
will identify the problem, analyze possible causes, and describe the environment in which
it occurs. Once this is done, you are ready to write your goal statement. These first two
activities are Part One of your ID Project.
Throughout the remaining assignments in the course, details are important. Be sure you
provide a response to each rubric item and that it is clearly identified as you compose your
Your assignment should be produced using Microsoft Word. Title it "Needs Assessment". Beneath that, enter your name, email address, and the date. Save your assignment using the filename "needs". After you have saved your file, go to the student interface and submit your assignment for grading. Click here if you need additional information regarding submission of your assignment.