Tip #175: Identifying Skill-Building Key Content

In the lesson design process, we identify the key content to determine what must be taught so that all of the training goals will be accomplished.

Up until last month, I have always referred to this process as conducting a task analysis. However, this has occasionally led to confusion, with some folks believing that they should get down to base line specifics and procedural steps. In fact, all we want to accomplish at this point in the lesson design process is to create a high level profile of the knowledge or skill necessary to accomplish the training goals.

So, with great thanks to the folks in my most recent Increasing Training Effectiveness workshop (Shelly, DeeAnna, Nancy, Jim, Scott, Amy, and Linda), I’ve revised the language. Rather than conducting a task analysis, we will simply identify the key content.

After all of the years of working through a relatively cumbersome task analysis process, I’ve realized that it can be reduced to two simple templates. The first template identifies the key content for skill building training and the second template identifies the key content for training that focuses on changing attitudes.

Identifying the key content is the first step in developing behavioral learning objectives.

This week, we will look at examples of the first template. The first two examples deal with simple skill building. The third example deals with a more complex skill building training that requires either the comprehension or application of necessary supplemental skills that are prerequisites to successful achievement of the training goals.

Example #1: Identifying Key Content for Skill Building
Directions: (1) State the training title and goals;
(2) Follow the template;
(3) Keep in mind that the target level of learning is Application.
Title: Grilling with Joe
Training Goals: The participants will learn how to safely grill a hamburger [what] in order to delight their family’s palates [why].
Skill Building Template: Learning Level:
1. What it is (definitions of terminology or standards):
What grilling is
What safe grilling is What a hamburger is
Comprehension
2. Why it is important (benefits of the training from the learners’ perspective):
Benefits of safely grilling a hamburger [Note: there is no need to delineate these benefits at this point]
Comprehension
3. What is needed to do it (necessary tools or materials):
Grilling tools and prepared hamburger patties
Comprehension
4. How to do it (procedure):
How to safely grill hamburger patties
Comprehension
5. Do it (hands on practice):
Grill a hamburger
Application
Example #2: Identifying Key Content for Skill Building
Title: Conducting a Performance Evaluation
Training Goals: The participants will learn how to conduct a performance evaluation [what] in order to help their employees be successful in their jobs [why].
Skill Building Template: Learning Level:
1. What it is (definitions of terminology or standards):
What a performance evaluation is
Comprehension
2. Why it is important (benefits of the training from the learners’ perspective):
Benefits of performance evaluations
Comprehension
3. What is needed to do it (necessary tools or materials):
Necessary documentation and forms
Comprehension
4. How to do it (procedure):
Steps in conducting an evaluation
Comprehension
5. Do it (hands on practice):
Conduct a simulated evaluation
Application
Example #3: Identifying Key Content for Skill Building
Title: Coaching for Success
Training Goals: The participants will learn how to use the DO COACH! Model to coach employees [what] in order to ensure their success on the job [why].
Skill Building Template: Learning Level:
1. What it is (definitions of terminology or standards):
What coaching is
Comprehension
2. Why it is important (benefits of the training from the learners’ perspective):
Benefits of coaching
Comprehension
3. What is needed to do it (necessary tools or materials or supplemental skills):
Self awareness Comprehension
Techniques to handle employee defensiveness Comprehension
Active listening skills Application
4. How to do it (procedure):
How to prepare, script, and conduct a coaching session
Comprehension
5. Do it (hands on practice):
Prepare, script, and conduct a coaching session
Application

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