Chapter 3: Conducting a Goal Analysis

Once you figure out which one of Gagne’s domain’s of learning your project fits into, read that section in more detail.

“The goal should be a clear statement of what learners will be able to do.” (p. 41)

I prefer to say what someone who already has the skill is able to do – what does the expert do?

“The first question for the designer, following the identification of an instructional goal, is ‘What exactly would learners be doing if they were accomplishing the goal successfully?’ (p.42)

“It should be stressed that the goal-analysis approach is not the only way to identify content that should be included in a set of instructional materials.” (p.42)

This just says that there are other instructional design models out there that approach this differently.

“The first step is to categorize the goal into one of Gagné’s (1985) domains of learning” (p.42)

I’m not a huge fan of Gagné’s domains of learning; however, it is used throughout the text, so important to know which domain your project falls under, so you can focus on that domain when you do your readings.

“The highest level of intellectual skill is problem solving, and there are two types of problems: well-structured problem solving and ill-structured problem solving.” (p.43)

“There is no better example of an ill-structured problem than the instructional-design process itself. ” (p. 44)

This is the idea that instructional design is complex. There is no one solution to the problem of designing instruction.

“If the learner must learn to execute new, nontrivial motor skills, or performance depends on the skillful execution of a physical skill, we refer to it as a psychomotor goal.” (p.44)

“Another characteristic of attitudinal goals is that they probably will not be achieved at the end of the instruction.” (p.45)

The Dick & Carey model does not work well with attitudinal goals.

“The smaller the goal, the easier it is to do a precise analysis of what is to be learned.” (p.46)

Note: Notice how the steps are presented in a linear fashion – in reality not all projects break down so neatly. You may need to abstract in order to come up with a list of things rather than linear steps.

“Regardless of how large the steps should be, the statement of each step must include a verb that describes an observable behavior.” (p.47)

Tip: Use the upper four levels of Bloom’s taxonomy to find the right observable verbs.We have routinely observed that novice designers tend to list the steps they would follow in teaching a goal rather than the steps that a learner should use in performing the goal.

“Another problem in conducting a goal analysis is the inclusion of skills and information that are “near and dear” to the designer but are not really required for the performance of the goal.” (p.51)


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

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