Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Back to Basics # 4 - Observation Methods

A quick one in my back to basics series.

Someone asked me last week at a presentations evening what my top list of things to do would be if I had to create e-Learning on process driven tasks and efficiency.

I stated that it would depend on context but the one thing I was sure I would do, based on past experience, is observe good and bad examples of what I would be required to develop the learning on. And so, here is my list of observation methods that should be considered when developing learning on process/task efficiency:

  • Cognitive Task Analysis – Conversations with employees regarding the cognitive reasoning approach to their job tasks. Questions focus on problem solving and the mental structuring of tasks.
  • Competency Assessment – Identify examples of exemplary performance and use these as a basis for preparing instruction for employees. The focus is on ideal performance rather than considering individual departmental issues.
  • Direct Observation of Work – First hand observation of employee performance. Observers watch what is happening in the employee's environment and how employees move through their job process
  • Examine Existing Personnel Data – Gathering employee data from Human Resources files regarding employee education level, certifications, licenses, previous work experience, hobby, interests, awards, etc.
  • Force Field Analysis – Identifying the “pros” and “cons” of behaviors, skills and attitudes regarding a defined event or process. The name provokes a visual image of resistance. Where there is a force (or influence) exerted on an issue or behavior, there exists a counter- force (or equal influence).
  • Group Behavior Observation – The observation of group activity. Behaviors are measured regarding the frequency of desired behaviors within a group within a prescribed unit of time.
  • Indirect Examination of Performance or Productivity Measures – The examination of productivity records, quality control rejects, scrap, work samples, etc.
  • Task Analysis – The direct observation of employee tasks required to complete a specific job or assignment. The observation is focused on the steps or tasks involved in a process. These steps are often timed.
Of course all of these would need more research based on your context and circumstance but if it helps...... great!

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