The Basics of Goal Analysis

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The Basics of Goal Analysis

The Basics of Goal Analysis

The goal analysis is another one of the steps that instructional designers take when determining instructional needs.

The Purpose of Analyzing Goals

The purpose of analyzing goals is to determine the goals of the learner, that is, what the learner needs to be able to do after completing the learning. Unlike the needs analysis, the instructional designer is not tasked with determining the problem; rather, he or she is focused solely on the solution to that problem.

The following are some example goals:

  • Perform a calculation.
  • Write a business letter.
  • Print a worksheet.

The Process of Analyzing Goals

Once the problem has been determined by the needs analysis, the goal is often apparent to the ID. Instructional design expert Robert Mager devised a process for analyzing goals that are not clear cut:

  1. Write down the goal.
  2. Determine what behaviors learners would need to demonstrate to achieve this goal.
  3. Analyze the list of behaviors, selecting those that represent the goal that is not clear cut.
  4. Using these behaviors, write a statement that describes what exactly the learner will be able to do.
  5. To ensure you have clarified the goal, look at the goal statement and ask: if the learner was able to achieve each performance, would he or she have achieved the goal? If yes, then you have properly clarified the goal.

Let's say that for our business writing course, we have an initial goal that is too vague.

  • Initial goal: Be a better writer.
  • Desired behaviors:
    1. Use proper grammar and spelling.
    2. Become familiar with the basic rules of English.
    3. Write an effective e-mail, with proper spelling and grammar.
    4. Write an effective business proposal, with proper spelling and grammar.
  • Which behaviors represent the vague goal?:
    1. Write an effective e-mail, with proper spelling and grammar.
    2. Write an effective business proposal, with proper spelling and grammar.
  • Statement describing exactly what learner will be able to do: Write effective e-mails and business proposals, demonstrating proper spelling and grammar.
  • If the learner could achieve this, would he or she have achieved the goal? Yes, so this goal has been clarified.

Setting Goals

The goal setting process can be straightforward or more complex. It is easy for people, including the person or group requesting the instruction, to lose sight of the overall goal.

One technique IDs can use to focus on the goals of the instruction is known as the functional analysis system technique, or FAST. FAST is a simple chart that the ID fills in, working backward, starting with practices that are established, to obtain the larger goal or goals.

The FAST chart uses simple verb/noun pairs. Here is an example FAST chart:

By starting with the action of eating well, you arrive at the final goal of being healthy.

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