Conduct an Instructional Analysis

Give Learners Clear Directions

Have you ever used an online map service to create a set of driving directions? When you enter your starting point and your destination, the service provides a series of step-by-step instructions that will guide you to your goal. Training is no different; you need a roadmap and directions.

  • Your learner analysis provides your project's starting location
  • Your company's business goals provide the destination
  • Your instructional analysis provides the step-by-step instructions that take learners from start to finish

When ILLAFTrain's training specialists look at a training project, they identify what people will need to learn to achieve the company's business goals. The learners might need new knowledge, skills, or behaviors. ILLAFTrain's training specialists conduct an instructional analysis to determine how to guide learners from their current capabilities to the course's goals.

Create an Instructional Analysis

During the instructional analysis step, a training specialist might conduct a task analysis and create a competency map for learners. These tools help the training specialist define what learners must be able to do once they have completed the course.

Think back for a moment about the online roadmap. You can't just walk out of your front door and instinctively know how to travel to a new place. Worse yet, imagine if you printed out a set of online directions that were missing an important turn. You might get lost and frustrated; you might even give up and never arrive at your destination.

For learners, training is a journey; they rely on you to provide them with an accurate set of directions. An instructional analysis ensures that the course will:

  • Cover all information and steps that learners will need to know
  • Exclude information that learners already know
  • Exclude information that learners don't need to know

The more accurate the instructional analysis, the easier the journey will be for the learners.

Think from a Learner's Perspective

If you ask an expert to create a list of steps for a task, they'll probably omit many steps they instinctively perform. An expert can take the right actions without consciously thinking about each step. When a training specialist conducts an instructional analysis, they watch the process with fresh eyes. They look for "unstated" knowledge and steps that the expert never consciously thinks about.

Imagine you want to teach someone how to write and send a letter. You probably learned this skill when you were in grade school, so you don't consciously think about all of the mundane details it takes to mail a letter. You're an expert now; you're intuitively capable of those tasks. You'd actually have to stop and think about each step that you perform.

  • Write the letter, including the introduction, body, and closing
  • Address an envelope properly and legibly
  • Affix proper postage to the envelope
  • Deliver the envelope to the post office

That's a basic task analysis, but there are some assumptions here that could cause problems for someone just learning how to send a letter:

  • The list never tells the learner to put the letter in the envelope.
  • The list never tells the learner to seal the envelope.
  • How does the learner determine proper postage?
  • Where should the postage stamp be placed?

Now, consider all of the complex tasks involved in writing a proposal, navigating your company's in-house proprietary software, or meeting compliance requirements. If a learner doesn't know about a step, it could mean the difference between success and failure. The instructional analysis makes sure that the course content exactly matches what learners need to know.