Job Skills and Expectations
Job skills and expectations are important in defining course objectives and evaluation measures. In the Audience Analysis phase we determined that required skills minus current skills equal course objectives. Before you can put this formula into action, however, you need to first identify the required skills and expectations.
Every job function requires certain skills which are amended by a company's expectations. For example, a job may require you to know microsoft office products. However, the company of the employee requires advanced knowledge of microsoft office products. As an instructional designer, it is your job to determine what the word "advanced" means and interpret the expectations in a manner that employees can understand. Therefore, the instructional designer must learn the art of asking questions to probe for the answers needed to develop course objectives.
There are a variety of things to consider when asking questions about job skills and expectations. Here are a few items to consider.
- Education level of the audience: The education level provides a starting point to identify the foundation of knowledge required to perform the job. For example, if the job requires math skills, the education level will assist you in determining what type of math skills are required. If the employee has basic math skills but lacks a higher level of math, then you can begin to identity specific math skills to build course objectives. The main objective in learning the education level of your audience is to establish prerequisites for the course.
- Equipment used on the job: There are many job skills that require specific knowledge of a type of equipment, technology, or process. Exploring job functions will help you uncover critical skills necessary to perform a job to the company's expectations. This includes computer software programs, engineering methods, and specific vocational requirements.
- Job Experience: Experience plays a huge role in defining job requirements and expectations. In fact, most expectations are based on job experience. A common mistake made by many employers is to compare performances by experienced employees to new hire employees. There must be a learning curve initially for new hired employees, which allows the instructional designer to ask the employer about the expectations of a new hired employee. When it comes to designing a course, it is critical to know the experience level of your audience. This will help determine the exclusion of basic concepts such as terminology or processes already known by the audience.
- Management Expectations: The most important information to obtain is management's expectations of its employees. This can sometimes be difficult to outline as management tends to talk in generalities rather than specifically about individual job functions. As an instructional designer, it is your job to ask specific questions that will provide clues to job skill requirements. For example, the manager may state that he desires his employees to make a widget. As an instructional designer, you need to ask questions like "How long does the employee have to make the widget?", "What steps must the employee follow to make the widget?", "What is considered a satisfactory widget?", etc.
The Job Task Worksheet
The will help you define specific job skills and expectations of a job.
The first step is to identify the tasks or processes of a job. You can identify these tasks through observations of current employees, reviewing policies and procedures, or interviewing managers, employees, or subject matter experts.
The second step is to identify the required skills and expectations of the tasks identified. As you analyze the tasks, you will discover certain skills that an employee must obtain. It is important that your subject matter expert(s) review this document to ensure that you have captured the main tasks accurately.
Remember, the more input your subject matter expert has on the initial analysis phase, the better prepared you will be to complete the remaining phases of the ADDIE model.
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