Instructional design/Task analysis/A Rule of Thumb

Identifying the components edit

Now that you know the structure of a completed HTA as seen in the last two sections, you should be able to identify the various components that make up an analysis. Since a subtask can be broken into two levels, the rule of thumb goes something like this: Treat everything as if it were a subtask. Then, if you can break one component down into more than two levels (going beyond steps), you're looking at more than one subtask. If it can be broken down into one supporting component, it is an element. Furthermore, if you're looking at a component that cannot be broken down any further, it is a step.

As mentioned previously in this lesson, once your HTA is completed, go through each component using what you have listed as steps, elements, and subtasks as a guide. Only act on what you wrote. If you're unable to take action because it is not written, you will know you missed a component in your analysis.

Example Task: Converting a Word Document to a PDF edit

Get your HTA worksheet ready, your assignment is to observe a worker converting a Word document to a PDF. First, let's set the stage. It's Tuesday morning on May 25, 2010, and you're having a team meeting with your manager.


Now you're on your way to a local business that specializes in logistics. You reach your destination and get briefed from Mary the manager about Jake the desk jockey. She tells you that Jake often needs to e-mail documents in a way that prevents people from easily altering information. In order develop a job aid for new hires, you are asked to observe Jake during his day. His first task is to convert a Word document to a PDF. Print a new task analysis worksheet, and click 'play' on the image below when you're ready to observe Jake. Remember to identify subtasks, elements, and steps if applicable.


Final Check edit

Answer the following questions before assessing your HTA. This will help you determine the accuracy of your HTA.


1 I have written preliminary information about the person I observed e.g. name, date, etc...


2 My task is broken down into subtasks.


3 My subtasks are broken down into elements.


4 If I were to recreate the task using my HTA as a guide, I would be successful in completing the task.


How did you do? edit

Compare your HTA with this completed HTA of Jake creating a PDF.

If you recorded preliminary information about the task, person you are observing, and broke down at least three subtasks, you get an A!

If you are missing the preliminary information or did not break down one subtask, you get a B.

If you are missing the preliminary information or did not break down two subtasks, you get a C.

If you are missing the preliminary information and did not break down any subtasks, you should revisit the previous pages in this lesson and try again.

What about the last part--Objectives? edit

I'm glad you asked! You are now finished with the HTA lesson. Click next to begin your lesson on objectives.