cha ter FIVE
Identify
l nitruc~onl
Gc,.l(s)
Gondua !.
Instructional
Analysis
Wrlte
Performance
Objectives
Revise
Instruction
r
t
Devtlop
Asmsme
nt
Instruments
objectives
~ Name Ihe g~r,eml chnracteriSiiCS ofn1a1·ge1vovulalion that are iniJX>rtnnt 10 consider
when developing instruction.
~ Name contextual char:lcreristics of the eventual setting in which ncquired skills will he
perfonned.
~ Namecontextual chamcteristics of the inst ructional setting:.
~ For agiven instructional goal and context, describe methods and sources for obtaining
informolion about the 1<ge1population, perfonnanco setting, ami inSITUctional setting.
~ Analyze and describe the general char.1cteristics of a target population.
,. Analy7.e and describe the contextual characteristics ofthe eventual performance and instructionalsettings.
)> Review instructional analysis work in light oflearner and context information and revise
as indicated.
Analyzing Learners
and Contexts
······························1..-··············································································
l T
Develop
.._ tnstrudional
Develop
a.ndSele’t
Instructional
Mitcrial~
I
O.’lgnand
Conduct
Formative
Strotegy Ew.luation
Design and
Conduct
Summativ(
[valuation
Background
Thtaught. e previo From us chap a neters eds ahav ssess e focu ment sed ogo onalidwa entif s idyein nt gifie tl1edsk that ill,sin ond turknow n, was led ana geltyze o bde
t
o determine the specific stCJJS included in the goal. Additional analysis was used
to identify {I) the subordinate skills that must be included in the instruction ond
{2) the entry skills that learners must have co begin the instruction.
Not m1ly rnust the d.:signcr dt:termine what is tl) he !aught hut also the characteristics of tlte lea·ne•·s, the contexts in which tlte instl’uction will be ddlivered 1 and
the contexts in which the skills will eventually be used. We refer to these types of
analyses as learner analysis nnd context anolysis. They pt·ovide thedewils that hell>
shape both what is taught and, especially, how it is taught.
Wlwt do we need to know about the people we are instructing? Answers vary
greotly on this question. One approach is to learn as much os possible inorder to design instt·uction that is most appropriate for the learners. However, data collection
can be expensive and time consuming, and it may yield information that is not very
uSeful. Ar101her ttppi’O!ICh ism assume that as dcsigtt~;rs we gh·eady kr1ow cn011gh
nbout the lenrners to forgo collecting information about them. For some designers,
this may be true, but for others who are designing for new learner populations, as·
sumptions nbout learners may be inoccurote, cnusingsignifiCJlnt problems when the
instruction is delivered.
91
92 Ch•pter 5 Analyzmg leamefl and Context>
llistorically, educational psychologists hove examined on array ofindividunl dif·
fercnoo ariablcs nnd their relationship to learning. ShJdics of intell igence and persomllity troits fill the litcmture. From an instructional design perspective, we wnnt to
know which voriahles significantly affect the achievement of the grouv of learners
we will i nstmet, since designerscreate instruction furgroups oflearners having corn·
mon characteristics.In this chapter we iden·tify asetof variables indicatedby research
to affectlearning. By describing your learners in terms of these variables, you can modify your instmctionalstrotegy to enhance learning.
Of equal importune<: at this point in the design process are analyses of the con·
text in which learning will occur and the context in which learners will use their
n
ewly acquired skills. In some instanoos, a learner is tuught o skill in a classroom,
demonstrates masteryon a posttest, and thot is the end ofthe matter. Likewise, astudent rnay usc the mathernuticsskill leul’n~d thisyearin a mathernaticscluss noxtyear.
In these situntiuns, thecontext fol’ learning and the cuntext fur using theskill are essentially the same.
In contrast, consider a course on interpersonalskills for managers. These skills
moy be taught and practiced in a training center, yet used in o variety ofcorporate
settings. These different contexts should be reflected in the media selected for in·
struction, in the inst·uctional strategy, and. in evaluations of the lea l’ners.
A
nother reoson for thedesigner toannl.yze the learners andcontexts is that these
analy$eS cannot be done in one’s office. Oe~igners should talk with learner~, instructors, and managers; theyshould visit clnssmoms, trniningfacilities,and the le<lrn·
ers’ workplace to detel’mine the cil’cumsta nee-in wl1ich learne1·s will be ncquiring
and using their new skills. All of these cxp<:rienccs significantly enhance designers’
un
del’stnnding of what is being taught and how it will be used.
As noted in Chapters 3 and 4, the instructional analysis steps and analyses of
learners and contexts are often performed simultaneously instead ofsequentially, so
that information gathered from each infornlti the other.
In this chaptel’, we will first discuss what we need to know aboutlearners (lramrr
twiiiJ!sis), then next what we need to know about the setting in which learners will
app
ly their new skills (pe~1iwmaucr couttctt analiJ.•is), and finally what we need to
know about the setting in which lcnrners will acquire their new skills {ltami”!J COII·
trxt analysis).
Concepts
Leamer Analysis
Let’s begin by considering the learners for any givenset of instruction, referred to as
the targrr fiOpulatiou-the ones you want to “hitwith the appropriate instruction.
S
ometimes the target J>OJiulation isalso referred to as the rargrtauditr/l’fOl‘largrt
gror/fi. It is descril>ed by such identifiers as age, grade level, topic being studied, job
experience, orjob pO$ition. For example, a set of materials migh rbe intended for systems programmers, fifth-grade reading classes, middle managers, or higl1 school prin·
cipals. These exomples are typical of the descriptions usually availoble for
instructiunnl materials. But the instructional designer mustgo beyond these general
descriptions and be much more specific about the skills required of the !corners for
whom th
o materials oro intended.
It is important to make a distinction between the target population ond whot
w
e will refer to :10 lrJJOttl ltamrrs. The t:u gct population is an abstr:1ct represcnta·
tion of tl1e widest possible range of users, such as college students, fifth graders, o1·
adults. Tryout learners, on the other hand, :ll’C learners available to the designer
while the instruction is being developed.It is assumed that these tryoutlearners are
mr.mht:r~ rtf thr rnrt1er nnnulnlinnlhfllis. thrv nr1~ r.ollt:i1f! srudt~nr.~ . fifth 11nldf:r.~.
and adults, respectively. But the tryout learners are Sflt’cific college students, fifth
graders, orad
ults. While the designer is preparing the instruction for the ~nrget population, tho tryout learners will serve as representatives of that group in order to
pion the instruction and to determine how welt the instruction works after it is
developed.
W
hnt information do designers need to know ahout theit· target p.opulation?
Useful information includes (I) entry skills, (<!) prior knowledge of the topic urea,
(3) attitudes toward contentand potentialdelivery system, (4) academic motivation,
(
5) eductttional and ability levels, (6) gcnertillearning preferences, (7) altitudes toward the organization giving the inmuction, and (8) gi’Oup characteristics. The following paragraphs elaborate each ofthese categories.
Entry Skills Prior to beginning instruction, ta’1!et population members must have
a
lready mastered certainskills (i.e., entry skills) associated with the learnin.ggoal.111e
researc
h literature also discusses other chnroctcristies oflearners, cntegori?.ed as either specific or geneml in nature., that relate to learners’ knowledge, experience, ond
attitudes. T
hese also influence the outcome of instruction. Interested readers may
want
to consult the work ofRichey (1992) for a detailed review of this research.
Pr
ior Knowledge ofTopic Area Much of the current learning resoarch emphasizes
the importance ofdeterm ining what learners already know about the topic that will
be
taught; rarely are they completdy unaware or lacking in at least some tmowledge
of
the ~uhject. Further, they often hove partial knowledge or misconceptions about
the topic. When we teach, learners may try to interpret what is beingsaitl in light of
theassociations they conmoke with their prior learning.Theyconstruct ttew knowledge bybuilding on their priorunderstanding; therefore, itis extremely importa nt for
the designer to determine the range and nature of prior knowledge.
Attitudes toward Content and Potential Delivery System Learners may hove impressionsor attitudesaboutthe topicthat will be taught ami perhapsevenhow it might
he del
ivered. For example, the target population may have no interest in mastering
the ru les nnd techniques required for keeping an electronicday plnnncr because they
have no interest in entering their old paper and pencil day planner into ~heir desktopcomputer. They might,how~vC’r, be interested in lcnrning th~ new skills ifthecompany provides them witha personaldigitalassistant (PDA) thatwillsynchronize tiles
w
ith their desktop computer. The designe,·should determine, froma sample set of
learners, the runge ofprior experi.ence, knowledge, and attirudes toward the content
area that will be covered in the instmction. Designers also should determine learners’ expectnlions regardinghow the instruction might be delivered.
Academic Motivation {ARCS) Many instructors consider the motivation level of
learners the most importont factor in successful instruction. Teachers report that
wh
en learners have little motivation or interest in the topic, learning is almost impossible. Keller (1987) developecl3 model of the different types of motivation necessary for successful learning, and he suggested how to use this information to design
effective instruction. Called the ARCS model (attention, releva nce, confidence, and
satisfac
tion), tho model will be discussed in detail in the chapter on instructional
strateg
ies (Chapter 8); it will be 11sed here to show how to obtain information from
learners during the learner analysis.
Ketler suggests asking leo rne,·s questions such ns these: How relevant is this instructional goal to you? What aspects ofthe goal interest you most‘! IIow confident
are you that you could successfutty learn to performthe goat? How satisfying would
it be to you to be able to perform 1hc goat? The answers to these que.,tions will provide insight into the tnrget population nnd into potentiol prohlemarens in the de.~ign
of inslmt.tlon. On nOI LiSSW111′ lh:ll lt.:trners :lfC Vf’TV interf:.l:l(:d in lht IOnir.. find il
Concepts 93
94 Chapter5 Analyzing Learnersand Contexts
relevant to their interest~ or job, feel confident that they can learn it, and will be
satisfied when they do. These nssumptions arc almost never valid. It is important to
find oul how lean1er·s feel /Jcfore you design the instruction rather than while it is be
ing delivered. We will discuss the implications of learners’ academic motivationand
describe procedures for collecting motivational data after considering more genom!
characteristics ofthelearners.
Educational and Ability Levels Detennir1e theachievement and general ability levels of the learners. This information will provide insight into the kinds of instructional experiences they may have had and perhaps their ability to cope with new and
d
ifferent approaches to instruction.
General LearningPreferences Fi nd out about the target population‘s learningskills
and preferences and their willingness to explore new modes of learning. In other
words, are these learners seemingly fixated on the lecture/discussion nppmach to
le
arning, or have they experienced success with seminar-style classes, case studies,
s
mallgroup problembased learning, or independent webbased courses’? Much has
been written about “learningstyles”and assessingastudent‘s personallearningstyle
so
that instnrction can beadapled for maximum effectiveness. Research indicates that
pcrsonolstyles can be identified, but such styles ore often derived fromlearners’ expressions ofpersonalpreferences for listening, viewing, reading,smallgroup discus
sion, and w forth, rather than measurement ofpsychological tmits that will predict
how a student will learn best. We will treal learning styles ns an aspect of learning
p
references until a body of rescnrch emerges that confirms practical gains in learn
ing effic
iency, effectiveness, and attitudes through individualizing instruction based
on identificationoflearning styles.
Attitudes toward Training Organization Detemline the wrget populalion’s aliitudes towar· cl theorgani?.ation providing theinstruction. Oo they havea positive, con
structive view of both management and their peers, or nre they somewhat cynical
nbout
senior leadershipand their ability to pro1ideappropriate trnining? Researchers
have
indieated that such altitudes are substarllial predictors of the success of in
st
ruction intermsofthelikelihood ofnewlylearned skillsbeingusedon thejob.TI10se
with positive attitudes about theorganization and their peers aro more likely to usc
the skills
.
Group Characteristics Aearefulanalysis of the leorners will provide two additional
k
inds of infonnation that can he influential in I hedesignofinsh·uction. The first is
t
he degree of heterogeneity within the target population on important variables.
Obviously, finding ways to accommodate diversity is important. The second kind of
in
formation is an overall impression of the tnrgel populntiili’Ws1!1f~W‘a!rl!blOj:nlefJ
actions with them.This is not simplyaccepting nstereotypical descriplionor a man
agement description of the learners; this requires interaction with learners in order
to develop an impression ofwhat they know and how they feel.
TI1ese learner variables will be used lo selecl and develop lhe objectives for in
struclion, and they will especially influence various components oftheinstructional
strategy. Theywill help the designer develop a molivational stmtcgy for 1he instruc
tion and will suggest various types ofexamples that con be used to illustrute points,
ways
in which the instruction may (or may not) be delivered, and ways to make the
pract
ice ofskills relevant for learners.
Data for Learner Analysis
There arc various ways to collect data abou l learners. One method would involve a
s
ite visit for structured interview.~ with manMers. instructors. and lr.nmers. ‘111ese
­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­
interviews might yield valuable information about learners’ entry skills, personal
goals, attitudes about the content and training organization, nnd self-reported skill
levels. Duringthe site visit, thedesignercould olso observe learners in the perfonnance
an
d instructionalcontexts. E:ither onsiteorusing distance technology, designerscould
administer surveys and questionnaires to obtainsimilar information about learners’
interests, goals, attitudes, nnd self-reported skills. In addition to self-report nnd
supervisor judgment, designers could administer pretests inorder to identify learn·
ers’
actual entry skillsand prior knowledge and skills.
OUtput
The results of a learner analysis ir1clude a description of the learners’
(1)entryskills a~d prior knowledgeof the topic, (2) attitudes toward thecontent and
p
otential delivery system, (3) academic motivation, (4) prior achie1•ement and abil·
ity levels, (5) learningpreferences, (6) general altitudes toward the organization pro·
viding t1·aining, and (7) groupcharacteristics. Good instruction that precisely fits t·he
learners’ needs w cl characteristics will be in vain, however, if the perfom1ance con·
text does not enableand support application of the new skills.
Performance Context Analysis
Tile designer nm t be concerned about the characteristics of Ihe setting in which
the skills and knowledge will be used. Instructionshouldbe partofs:ltisfying a need
that has been clerivecl from n needs assessment, which should be based on iclent
fying performarce problems that can he solved through instruction or opportunities that instruction can provide for nn organization. The instruction must
contribute w meeting an identified need by providing learners with skills and an
tudes that will h~ used, if not in the workplace, certainlysomewhere other than the
classroom. Seldom is something learned simply for the purpose of demonstrati ng
mastery on a test at the end of the instruction; therefore, as designers it is impor·
tont for us to know the environment in which our learners will be using their new
skills. Froma constructivist perspective, a careful context analysis iscriticalforaid·
ing the designer in creatingappropriate elements of the learning environment and
enabling the learner to build optimal conceptual frameworks for learning and re·
membering. Accumte analysis of the performance context should enable the d
signer to develop a more authentic learning experience, thereby enhancing the
lea
rners’ motivation, sense of instructional relevance, and transfer of new knowl·
edge andskills to the workselting. lnfact, the reason for analyzing the perfonnance
co
ntext before the learningcontext is to ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that
requirements for applying the new skills are present while new skills are being
learned.
Managerialor Supervisor Support We must learn about the organizational sup·
pori that Jearne:s can e.xpect to receive when using the new skills. Research indi·
cates thatoneofthe strongest predictors ofuse ofnew skills in a new setting (called
rmns]Croj’rrai11i•ro) is the support received by the learner. If managers, supervisors,
orpeers ignoreor punish those usingnew skills, then use ofthe new skills will cease.
If persormcl recognize and praise those using new skills and emphasize how the
sk
ills are contributing to progress within the organization, thenskills will be used,
a
nd hopefully their use will address the prohlem identified in the original needs
assessment.
If management support is not present, then the designer (or the training organi·
1.11tion) has anadded problem associated with this project, namely recruiti ngtheir su p·
port. It is often helpfulto include managers in project planning, ask themto serveas
s
ubject-matter experts, and perhaps ask themto serve as mentors or coaches for the
learners when thev return to the worlmlar.c.
Concept< 95
96 Chapt•• s Anaty!ing leamers and Contuts
Physical Aspectsofthe Site Thesecond aspectofthe contextanalysis is toassess the
physica
l context in which the skills will be used. Will their use depend on equipment,
facilities, tools, liming, or other resources? This information can be used to design
the training so tha t skillsco n be practiced in conditions assimilar as possible to those
in the workplace.
Social Aspects ofthe Site Understanding the social context in which skills arc to
b
e applied is critical for designing effective instruction. In analyzing social aspects,
some relc•ont questions to ask include the following: Will leomcrs work alone or as
team members? Will they work independently in the field, or will they be presenting ideas in staff meetings ursupervisingemployees? Arc the skills to be learned already used proficiently by others in the organization, or will these learners be the
first?
Relevance of Skills to Workplace To ensure that new skills meet identified need>,
weshould assessthe relevanceoftheskills tohe learnedhy employeescurrently working in the pcrfumwncc site. This is a reality check tu ensure that instruction really
w
ill be thesolution, or port ofa solution, to the needs thot were originally identified.
Designers should assess whether physical, social, or motivational constroints to the
useofthe newskills exist. Physical constroints might include lock ofwork space,outdated equipment, inadequate time orscltedulirtg, or too few persortnel. For example,
it would do little good to provide customerservice trainingfor a receptionist who has
o
cor1stan1stream ofcustomers, all four telephone lines lit, and a thirty-ntinule delay
for customers with appointments. Likewise, training in new instructional software
is irrelevant for teoclters who hove severely outdoted computers in their classrooms
that wont J’Un current software applications.
Data for Performance Context Analysis
Although some instructional analyses con be done in the office, context analyses requi re designers to observe in the appropriate setting. These observa1ions influence
the Ctltire future course of the project bcelluse they provide critical informalion not
only for direct input to the project but also fot·enhancing the skills und knowledge
uf detii&n~rti.
Onsitevisits for purposesof contextanalysis should be planned well in advance,
a
nd one or more isils should be mode. Ideally these visits should occur nt the some
time that instntctional analysis is being conducted. Tile sites will be situation specific, and some may have been identified in the needs assessment.
The purpose forthe visits is togather data frompotential learners and managers
ond to observe the work environment where the new skills will be used. The basic
datagatheringprocedures include inten~ews and observations. The inten•iewsshould
beconducted usingwl’inen questions 1ho1 focus on the issues presented in!his clwpter. Answers to the questions are situation or project specific and depend on the
unique nature ofeach setting.
Output The major outputs of !his phase of the stud)’ ore (1) n description of the
phy>ical and organizational emironment where the skills will be used, and (2) a list
ofo nyspecialfactors that may foci! itateor interfere with the leamers’ use of the new
s
kills.
Learning Context Analysis
There nre two aspects to the analysis of the learningcontext that determine what is
o
nd what should be. l11e wlull is is a t·eview of the settitlg in which instruction will
l :t k ~ n bf‘A’ T his mi !1h l ln~ nnlv u nf-! siiR .1ur.h :ts :1r.on1ur:1IH tr:tini nd c~r•n tr•r. nr it r‘.fu llcl
Concepts 97
be one of many sites thul a client has a1uilable.111c what siJOttltl bt• is facilities, equip·
ment, and resources that adequately support the imended instruction.
In
the leurning cunlcxl analy•is, I he focus is on ihc following clements: (1) the
eo
mpatil>ility of the site with instructional requirements, (2) the ad>ptnbility of the
si
te for simulatingaspects of tho workplace or performance site, (3) the ndnptability
of the site for using a variety of instructional strategies and training delivery ap·
proaeh
es, and (4) the eom.troints present that may affect the design and delivery of
instruction.The followingparagraphs briefly elaborate each of these areas.
Compatibility of Site with Instructional Requirements In the i1″tructional goal
stotemcm prepared in the fi rst step of t!tc model, the tools ond other support items
required to perform the goal were listed. Does the learningenvironment that you are
vi,iting inclu
de thes.: tools? Con it :~ceommodate themif they “‘e pro”ided?The most
eommon ‘tool’today is probablya computer. Arecomputers available? Are they compatible \ith the eomputers in the train ing organi1.ation? And, of great importance,
are they compotible with those in other training sites that may be used for the
instruction?
Adaptability of Site to Simulate Workplace Another issue is the compatibiliry of
the trainu1g environment with the work em•ironment. In training, an attempt must
be made to simulate those factors from the work environment that Me critical to pcrfomtance. Will it he possible to do so in thedesignated trainingcontext? What would
have to be cho nged or added?
Adaptabilfty for Delivery Approaches ‘l’he list of tool requirements from the goal
st
atement indicates the wlur.t slumlll hr. with regard to the learning eontext and, ob1i·
ously, for the performance eontext as well. There moy be other liotitotions or requirements th:1t should be noted at this point in the analysis. These relate to
orgoni7.atinnolmandates that have been placed on your instruction.Tile organization
muy have decided that the instruction must be deliverable in typical eorporale train·
ing centers in the United Stoles, that the instruction must be delil•troble by web to
employees’ desktops worldwide, ur that the instruction is intended fur the typical”
fourthgrnde clnssro(lln. Determi ne what delivery appmach can be .1sed in the )>roposed instructionalsites.
Learning Site Constraints Affecting Design and Delivery For whatever rMsor, an
upfront decision may have been mode that this instruction will be computer-based
nr
d sclf·i~structionol. The decision may nor hove been made on the basis ofanannl
sis
of the capability of a computer system to deliver the desired inst’ucrion. In such
coses, the eontextanolysisof the learningenvironment beeomes critically important.
11>e designer moy find that the computers in various trai ningsites or on employees’
desks arei!lcompatible. 011d it will tl’iplc the eost of the project to prwide eompatiblc
computers. Or the organization may recognize thebenefit of compatible deliverysys·
tems onduse this opportunity to conform. The mojor point is that rtte development
of the instruction should JICJII’r he initiated before addressing such molters. Most ex·
pel’iencec:designcrs hove. atone time oranother, regretted the omission ofconstraints
analysis in the design process.
ln
an ideal situotion, the locotion of the t-raining and the meansofdelivering it
wou
ld bedecided on the basis ofan analysis of the requirements for leaching the in·
structional goal. In the extreme, some argue that training should nor be delivered un·
Iii the individtwl has need of it. II should be delivered just in lime where needed in
theworkplace, not in” groupsetting ina classroom.Traditional pmctice is a long way
from that vision. An instmctor teaching twenty to twentyfour learners in a classroom is still the predomi nant method of corporate training. Public educa tion is
kttr.hc:r·lttl with lvnir.flllv twr.nlv to forrv SIIJfl•:nl., . llnwc:vc:r. more :-IC::flrrli ru1i!; hc~i ru1
98 Chapter 5 Analyzing l.carncrs and Contexts
accessed from the web ot home or at a workstation. The instruction eon be individ·
ualizecl orcanbeset in a virtuallearn ingcomruunity usingreal-tinre interaction with
otherstudents, agroupleader, oran instructor. The newskillsbeinglearned mayeven
be supported by performance support software on the student’s desktop in the job
site. Such systems arc a very real part of current training technology and make sys·
ternatic design principles even more applicable for the development ofefficient, effective instruction.
Data for Learning Context Analysis
The analysis of the learning context is simil:rr, in many ways, to th:rt of the work·
place. The major purpose ofthe analysis is to identify available facilities and limita·
lions of the setting. The procedure for analyzing the learning context is to schedule
visits
to one or more training sites and schedule interviews with instructors, managers ofthe site.~, and learners, if appropriate. As with performance contextanalysis,
have in
terview questions prepared in advance. Ifthelearners aresimilarto those who
will be takingyour instnrctiorr, they may beable to providevaluable information :rbout
t
heir usc of the site. It is also important to observe the site in usc and to imagine its
usc for your inst
ruction. Additionally, determine any limitations on your use of the
site and the potential impact on your project
Output The major outputsofthe learningcontextanalysis ore (1) odescriptionof
t
he extent to which the site can be used to deliver training on skills that will be re·
qu ired for transfer to the workplace and (2.) a list of any limit:rtions that may have
serio
us implications for the project.
Public School Contexts
Refore surnmari?.ing this section, it is worth reviewing learner and context analysis
fm
m the perspective of the designer who will he developing instruction for public
schools. Des
igners who support learner and learning environment analyses may be·
lieve they are already familiar with them in the public school sector, and no further
anal
ysis is necessnry. We encourage you to renew your experience base by doing the
proPQscd a
nalyses with learners, teachers, and typical classrooms. We also encourage
you to t
hink beyond the accepted textbook and c~rrriculum guide approach to public
schooli
ng, which has led to the criticism that most public education emphasizes factual recall over conceptual understanding and textbook problems over authenticap·
plication. Constnrctivist theorists l'”ve been justifiably sharp in their criticism of
teaeh
ingllearningactiviries thatarc abstracted from, and rhus not relevant to, authentic
physical, social, and problemcontexts. This leads not only to diminution of student
motivation but also to inability to transfer learningfor application in meaningful, real·
life problemsituations outsidetheschool walls.
The importance cannot be overemphasized of analyzing the context in which
skills learned in school classrooms will ullirnatcly b~ used.11tosc who work in voCiltionalcduCiltion see tlte immediate relevanceoftltis step to tlteirdesignefforts. They
want ro provide voCiltional graduates withskills that eon be used and supJ)Qrtcd in
t
heworkplace. However, corL~idersomethinglike fifthgradescience instnrction. What
is
the “performance site” for skills learned in such :r course? One way to :rnswer the
question is to identify where the skills will be used next in the curriculumand mlk
with those teachers about the contexts in which the skills are used and about how
well prepare
d students have been in these skills in the past.
Ano
ther analysis of the performance context relates to the use of the skills and
k
nowledge outside thoschool. Whyare the students learningtheseskills? Do they have
flnv fltmlirMinrl ln t he~ hnm1: fit tht: r,nmm11nitv. in ht)hhv or rc~r.r~n liclnll l itlli~rr.Ms . t)r
in vocational or higher educational pursuits’? Ifso, carefully note performance context applications and bring themto the instructional strategy stage of clesign.TI1ese
applications areexactlywhat is needed to boost motivation, provide context for new
content and examples, and design practice activities that are seen as relevant by
students. In essence, we believe the learner and context analysis step in the instructional design model is just as impol’tant to the public school designer as it is
to one who will be worki ng with adult populations in diverse training and work
environments.
Evaluation and Revision ofthe Instructional Analysis
Most designers review and revise design analyses before the first draft of instruction
is cre
ated. One co1nponent of the design process for which a preli minary tryout can
be made is the instructionalanalysis. The reason we are discussing the tryout in th is
chapter, rather than in Chapter 10, is that the tryout C<Jn occur at the same time the
designer is conducting the learnerand contextanalyses. Those analyses bring the designer into conroctwith potential learners, or recent learners, whocan review the instructional analysis with the designer.
The instructional analysis diagramindicates the goal, the steps requ ired to perform the goal, the subordinate skills, and the required entry skills. In order to review
t
he reasonableness ofyour analysis, select several people who have the characteristicsofthe target population. Sitwitheach person andexplain what the analysis means.
State the goal and explain whatsomeone would do ifhe or she were able to do it. You
might prov
ide an example in which you gn through thesteps. TI1enexplain howeach
of the set.• ofsubskillssupport• one or more ofthe steps in the goal. Explain what is
meant by entryskills, and ask whether the person knows or can do each ofthe entry
skills you have listed for your instruction.
Wltat is the purpose of this explanation? You hear yourself explaining your
ideas as you have represented them in the analysis. Sometimes just the act of explaining the analysis will lead to insights about du plications, omissions, unclear
relationships, illogicalsequences, or unneeded information. Almostwithout regard
to
what the learner says during the explanation, you may find changes you want
to make.
In addition to your personal reactious, you uced to see how a learner from the
target population reacts to the skills you will be teaching. You will be “explaining
and not teaching,” but you will want to stop occasionally to ask questions of
the learner. Does the learner understand what you arc talking about? How would
the learner describe it in his or her own words? Can the learner perform the curry
s
kills’? ’11tese questions focus on the task, but you can iuclude learner aualysis questions as well, asking ifhe orshe understands the relevance of the skills, has knowledge of the topic area, or sees how learning and using the skills will alleviate a
problemor need.
Ifyou do this review with several learners, perhaps somewhat divergent in their
backgrounds
and experieucesbutstillmcutbcrs ofthe target population,you will gaiu
infor
mation to refi ne the instructionalanalysis.
You might also explain your ma terials to supervisors in the worksetting to obta in their input. Supervisors can provide insights from both contentexpert and
con
textfeasibility perspectives. Input from target learners and supervisors will aid
rev
ising the instructional analysis before you begin the next ph;Jse of the design
p
rocess, writing performance objectives and assessments, which depend entirely
on information fromthe instructional analysis.
This description of an early review and revision of instructional analysis work
highlights the iterative nature of the TO process. Recall that in a systemthe compo
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Concepts 99
100 Cllapter S Analyzing Learners and Contellls
component. /s instructional designers do their work, they frequently “circle back”
!0 fine-tune eurlier decisions based on new information discovered as they progress
through the lD process.
Examples
I den formtiance fyingalnd earn leer orning charac sett ter inist gs u ics a renidmtphe ortan conttex early tualsctehpar s aicnteristics designi ng of tinhsetpe ruc­ r·
tion. In this section we illustrate how learner characteristics, the perfom1ance
con
text, and the learningcontext can be described using tl twodimensional matrix
fo
rmat, which allows designers to record a lot of infor:mation in a limited amount
of space nnd to find it readily as they work on various aspects of the instruction.
Table 5.1 is an example form for analyzing learner characteristics; Table 5.2. is on
example form for analyzing tho performance context; and Table 5.3 is an example
fo
rm foranalyzing the learningcontext. The first ond second columns ofeach table
list suggestions for categories ofinformation and data sources that could be useful
in yo
ur analyses, which cou ld be more or les.~ important in your analyses dependingon the learners and contexts under consideration. For specific examples of how
these fo•·ms would be filled out, see the case stud)• that follows and the one in
Appendix D.