Task analysis is the process of breaking a learning task down into its component parts and teaching each part as a distinct skill. It is often used by sports instructions in teaching such activities as tennis, golf and skiing. The premise that a hierarchy of sub-skills underlies master of a learning task is the pedagogical foundation. By arranging skills in a hierarchy, each skills builds on the next. Task analysis is a sequenced, systematic approach to teaching, which provides opportunities for evaluation of each sub-skill. When using task analysis the teacher will need to:
* Write a behavioral statement about the learning task (e.g. student will be able to divide three digit numbers with 90 percent accuracy) * Design an outline of the learning task broken down into a hierarchy of sub-skills. * Evaluate the student's abilities in relationship to each of the sub-skills before instruction. * Select materials and procedures for teaching each sub-skills. * Provide feedback to students about sub-skills development. * Evaluate acquisition of each sub-skill through systematic monitoring.
Students generally have some prior knowledge and skills when they begin instruction. Teachers who use task analysis define the task that the student will perform, state the condition under which the task will occur, and show the criterion measurement required for mastery. Task analysis identifies a sequence of skills needed to perform a tasks successfully. Criterion measurements identify whether the student possesses the necessary skills or knowledge for that task. The level of performance that is acceptable is the "criterion level", and it is often specified on the student's individualized education plan (IEP).
Through task analysis, the teacher can plan learning activities in the order in which they need to be learned to reach mastery as indicated on the student's IEP. The criterion set for determining mastery of the behavioral objective can be measured by using criterion-referenced testing, or some other informal, curriculum-based type of assessment.