Learning Steps for Instructional Design
Once the Performance Objectives have been crafted, the steps needed to learn and perform the objectives are identified and compiled:
These are constructed from the Task Performance Measures compiled during the analysis phase. The Performance Measures are reviewed to determine if they need any additional learning steps. For example, the Performance Measures for the objective "Given a cash register and at least ten products, calculate the exact total for the purchase transaction," might be listed like this:
- Enter the sales price and the department key for each product
- Repeat step one until all products have been entered
- After all items have been entered, press the subtotal key
- Press the Tax key
- Press the Total key
For the first step listed you need to determine if any additional learning steps are required, for example:
- do they have to read a chart (if so, do they need additional learning steps),
- memorize the department numbers for each product (how will you help them to learn if they have to memorize),
- or is the department number on the price tags?
Once you have all the learning steps listed, it is best to take a couple of beginners through the steps and see if they can perform the task or if more learning steps are needed. Based on the results, adjustments to the design are made and this process is repeated until the design does what it is supposed to do help the learners learn in the most effective and efficient manner. This is an iterative approach known as prototyping successive small-scale tests on variations of a limited function prototype in order to permit continual design refinements.
Prototyping allows designers to look at their concept in real world usage before final design decisions are committed to, which makes it quite useful in highly complex areas. This approach allows you to understand the needs of the learners by extending the design concepts and products out to the real world in order to create an unified whole.
For more information on task steps, see Tasks: Learning Steps.
For some sample learning steps, see More On Performance and Learning Objectives.
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U.S. Army Field Artillery School (1984). A System Approach To Training (Course Student textbook). ST - 5K061FD92
U.S. Department of Defense Training Document (1975). Pamphlet 350-30. August, 1975.