Task Analysis

What are the advantages of being able to task analyze your objectives?

Task analysis is an essential part of planning the achievement of any objectives, educational or otherwise. 

Task analysis identifies the steps necessary to achieving an objective.  In doing so, it highlights all the alternative routes to achieving that objective.  By identifying the steps, it also identifies the physical and temporal resources required.  Each of the different routes have different implications for student readiness and capability and place different demands on students’ learning abilities.  Each route requires different resources.  Task analysis highlights the executional details and, by doing so, allows the thoughtful, informed choice of learning path. In short, task analysis makes the choice of lesson plan easy. 

Having chosen a lesson plan, task analysis allows that plan to progress seamlessly and successfully.  It identifies materials and other resources needed.  It identifies time required.  It identifies areas of particular challenge, where special care must be taken.  It provides a roadmap that facilitates mental (and, perhaps, actual) rehearsal.  Perhaps most importantly, it is a confidence builder.  With a solid task analysis, the teacher can be confident of the steps to be taken and confident that the resources are in place to support those steps.

It also allows the teacher more confidence in dealing with any unanticipated issues that might crop up in the execution of the plan.  Having run through a variety of scenarios of how the lesson plan might have progressed, the teacher already has alternative strategies in mind. In addition, having rehearsed the clearly delineated plan, deviations from that plan can be done with more confidence. At very least, the teacher will be clear on where the ‘baseline’ lesson is. There is always a clear path through the material, no matter how far off that path the teacher has to go in the moment.

Task analysis is a basic skill required of effective planning. It is especially useful in the volatile world of teaching.

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