A learner analysis is needed to identify the characteristics that affect trainee learning. The analysis includes information about learners’ educational background, previous training/learning experiences, relevant work experiences, and motivation for training/learning. This information helps designers customize training for the intended audience.
A learner analysis also identifies training/learning requirements and training/learning outcomes. Training/learning requirements are the knowledge and skills that must be taught during training. Training/learning outcomes are the tasks that learners must demonstrate to ensure competent performance.
In addition to analyzing the learners, this step of the instructional design process involves analyzing both the performance context and the learning context. Sufficient attention is not usually given to the idea of context. Why is this important? If we comprehend the setting in which new skills, knowledge, or attitudes will be used then we can do a better job of planning instructional activities that will estimate what learners will confront when they have completed the instruction and head back into the real workplace. In this manner, the learning will have more meaning for them and the skills they acquire will transfer with greater ease. Additionally, if we understand the setting in which instruction will take place, then we can do a better job of planning activities that will make the greatest use of the instructional environment.
Performance Context Analysis
The performance context is the setting in which the new skills and knowledge will be used by learners after the instruction is completed. Knowing this information will enable you as the instructional designer create a more relevant environment for learning to take place in. It should also help increase learners’ motivation, and assist in the transfer of new knowledge to the work setting.
Analyzing the performance context requires that you actually visit the site in question. Information can be obtained from on-site visits using interviews and observations. The purpose is to gather information from potential learners and managers, as well as observe the work environment where learners will eventually use their new skills.
Learning Context Analysis
The other type of context is the learning context. This is the setting where the actual learning will take place. The goal is to familiarize yourself with the facilities where the learning will occur, and to identify any limitations of the setting that might affect the design of instruction.
Task analysis is a systematic method of detailing all the steps necessary to competently perform a specific task. These steps represent the foundation on which performance-based training objectives, course content, and evaluation instruments are constructed. Simply put, the task analysis provides a detailed “picture” of the task to be learned. The task analysis can also provide information about entry-level skills and possible prerequisites for training.
Templates can help you record and organize the data you have collected about the learners, context, and task.