6 Analyzing Your Goal

Once you have articulated your instructional goal, the next step in the process is to break down that goal into the steps required to complete the goal.

The  question you are trying to answer when completing a goal analysis is:
What do experts do to accomplish the goal successfully?

In addition we want to focus on expressing our analysis using language that is observable. This focus on observable will become really important when we start talking about assessment and how we validate that learners have achieved the instructional goal.

Avoid trying to articulate what the expert is thinking, rather, focus on what the expert is doing.

Performance Not Learning

At this point in the process, we are still focusing on the performance context, not the learning context. Later, we will look at what we want to teach. For now, we want to stay focused on what the successful person does.

Not Necessarily  Linear

Goal analysis is often shown as a linear process, goals do not necessarily need to break down into an ordered linear fashion. We use the linear model as a way to abstract the goal and break it into component parts, but it doesn’t necessarily show the order in which those parts need to take place.


Example: Writing observable goals

Goal: Instructional Designers need to write observable instructional goals in their home office with pencil and paper

Goal Analysis:

  1. Gather pencil and paper.
  2. Write the learners title.
  3. Write what the learners need to be able to do in the performance environment.
  4. Write a description of the performance environment.
  5. Write a list of tools available within the performance environment.

Example: Evaluating new technologies

Goal: Instructional designers need to be able to effectively evaluate new technologies using a minimal amount of time.

Goal Analysis:

  1. Set a time limit for the evaluation
  2. Write out evaluation criteria.
  3. Search for several tools that meet the criteria.
  4. Choose one tool and evaluate against criteria.
  5. Create a journal entry outlining findings.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 with other tools.
  7. Stop when time ends.

Example: Making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich

Goal: Beginning college students need to know how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with bread, peanut butter, and jam.

Goal Analysis:

  1. Take two slices of bread out of bag put them on the cutting board.
  2. Open peanut butter.
  3. Take knife spread butter on one slice of bread.
  4. Open jam.
  5. Take knife and spread on other slice of bread.
  6. Put covered sliced of bread together.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Foundations of Instructional Design by Rebecca J. Hogue is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book