Getting Unstuck
Monday, February 22, 2016 at 12:21PM
E Lisette Gerald-Yamasaki in CRI, Process, stuck, unstuck

Mager's The Performance SystemWhen I look at the tasks I brainstormed while writing about enticing teenagers, I feel stuck. That’s when I reach for the instructional design job aids I keep in my planner: Mager’s The Performance System, and Practical Management’s Design Sequence. Design Sequence job aid

Now, I can start to extract order from chaos. My list goes from this:

To this:

Brainstormed List Organized List
How do you make a class on managing your money exciting to such a teenager? Determine/test relevance
i.e., analysis: target population
Change the course name Experiment/test course name
i.e., design/development: try out/revise
Consider a window shopping field trip Get as close to real life tasks as possible
i.e., analysis: task
Make sure students have money and some sort of bank account Determine prerequisites
i.e., design/development: describe learning environment
Break down main learning objectives/draw skills hierarchy Determine learning objectives
i.e., design/development: derive instructional outcomes

Draft skills hierarchy
i.e., analysis: task

Fill out a final student performance worksheet Complete Final Student Performance worksheet
i.e., analysis: performance, content

From this, I can tell that my next actions should be:

  1. Do a target population analysis
  2. Do a task analysis
  3. Draft a skills hierarchy
  4. Do performance & content analyses, document on Final Student Performance worksheet
  5. Derive instructional outcomes
  6. Describe the learning environment
  7. Try out/revise the course name

(That is, analysis tasks, then design tasks, then development tasks, etc.)

Of course, I’ve found that committing to more than about three tasks doesn’t make sense because so many things change in the course of time and/or completing the earlier tasks, but at least having gone through this process, I feel confident I’m working on the best three tasks.

Article originally appeared on Instructional Design, Technical and Creative Writing (
See website for complete article licensing information.