Read Chapter 4, Identifying Subordinate and Entry Skills, from Dick, Carey, and Carey
In the last lesson, we discussed the first step in the instructional analysis process involving classifying the goal statement then identifying the steps and substeps required to perform the goal. In this lesson, we will look at the next step in the instructional analysis process - the Subordinate Skills Analysis. This analysis identifies the knowledge and skills needed to perform the steps and substeps associated with the goal. Doing this allows you to decide which skills and knowledge must be addressed in the instruction and which ones the learners will possess before they are exposed to the instruction.
The subordinate skills analysis involves analyzing each of the major steps and substeps to
determine what skills or knowledge are required to be able to perform that step. These skills and
knowledge are called subordinate skills. In the last lesson you identified the steps and substeps of
the process that an expert or skilled person would use to reach the goal. The subordinate skills
add the knowledge and the prior skills that are necessary to complete the actions in the process.
For example, in order to create a basic document in Microsoft Word you would need to open the program, type some text, and then save the document. To complete these steps, you would need the skills to operate a keyboard and possibly a mouse. You would also need the knowledge to be able to operate a keyboard and a mouse as well as locate and open the MS Word program. These skills and knowledge are subordinate to the steps and substeps required to produce the basic MS Word document, and therefore, identified as subordinate skills.
Why is it important to identify these subordinate skills if they are not part of the main steps towards achieving the goal? Before performing an activity identified in a step or substep, the learners must (1) know how to perform the activity, and (2) possess the skills and knowledge needed to perform the activity. The learners may possess some of the necessary knowledge and/or skills, but will need instruction to acquire the remaining knowledge and skills. Without a complete inventory of relevant knowledge and skills, important instructional components could be omitted.
Now that the subordinate skills and entry skills have been identified, it's time to create a new
flowchart that diagrams the goal, steps, substeps, subordinate skills, and entry skills. This will be
done using a hierarchical approach.
The hierarchical approach creates a step-by-step hierarchy of skills and knowledge needed to complete the goal. It places the most basic information at the bottom and builds upon each successive addition. In instructional design, the entry skills are the basic information that all learners will need to have in order to proceed. A dashed line separates the entry skills from the subordinate skills. Above the entry skills are the subordinate skills identified as the knowledge and skills needed to complete the actions. Next are the substeps, then the steps.
The diagram below illustrates a basic hierarchical flowchart:
Here is one way to diagram the Google search engine goal using a hierarchical approach:
Notice that the entry skills are at the bottom and separated from the rest of the diagram with a dashed line, and that the substeps are numbered from the bottom up. This creates the hierarchy.
In this activity you will conduct the subordinate skills analysis and create a new flowchart that
includes the goal, steps, and substeps from the previous flowchart as well as the subordinate and
entry skills identified in this analysis.
Your assignment should be produced using Microsoft Word. The title of this assignment is "Subordinate Skills Analysis". Beneath that, enter your name, email address, and the date. Save your assignment using the filename "subordinate_skills". 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.