Task Analysis

UDL 3.3 UDL 6.4

A Task Analysis is specific direct instruction of a skill broken down into smaller, more manageable discrete steps that allows students to work on the task one part at a time, instead of trying to master the whole task at once. When creating a Task Analysis, the teacher first identifies a target skill (e.g., logging onto a computer to access a specific program). Next, the teacher determines what prerequisite knowledge and skills an individual student has before outlining the sequential steps the student will need to follow in order to complete a task successfully (e.g., some students can handle larger steps, while others require smaller steps). After, the teacher provides direct instruction of each step and offers students multiple opportunities for guided practice to ensure success.

Implementation Tips

Identifying Target Skills
Identify target skills that individual students need to improve by collecting baseline data through observations. Make sure an outlined target skill is specific enough, such as “logging onto a computer and opening a familiar program,” but not too complex (e.g., “logging onto a computer and making a web page”).
Preparing for a Task Analysis
Plan a Task Analysis that outlines each discrete step individual students will need to follow in order to successfully engage in a task after target skills have been identified. Make or use this [[ | pre-created Task Analysis sheet ]], which includes blank and pre-designed templates of common skills for reference (e.g., how to cut with scissors, how to find a word in a dictionary).
Introducing a Task Analysis
Teach students the discrete skills they will need to master in order to complete all steps of a Task Analysis (e.g., which soap to use for hand washing, how to turn on warm water) before combining steps to form a process. Ensure students have mastered one step before teaching the skills required for the next one.
Adding Student-Friendly Imagery
Include images on Task Analysis supports (e.g., reference sheet, tool card, placard) to illustrate each step of a process. Use [[ | student-friendly images ]] or drawings, and when possible, take pictures of students performing each step to help students envision each discrete step.
Building Independence
Help students build independence with target skills by providing multiple opportunities to practice each step of a Task Analysis with teacher or peer support until the student is confident in completing the task independently. Gradually decrease prompts and support as students build on success (e.g., “Let’s try Steps 1-3 of our Morning Meeting routine together and then you’ll try Steps 4 and 5 by yourself.”).
Incorporating Self-Assessment
Encourage students to reflect on their progress with a Task Analysis process by incorporating a self-assessment aspect, such as adding a checklist box next to each discrete step for students to use while self-monitoring. Click [[ | here ]] for a sample Task Analysis with a self-assessment checklist.
Building Routines with Task Analysis
Apply the Task Analysis strategy when introducing new routines and procedures (e.g., how to turn in an exam) or to support certain students that demonstrate difficulty with a previously introduced classroom procedure (e.g., how to get ready for snack). Give students time to learn, practice, and internalize steps.
Video Task Analysis
Create videos of Task Analysis processes in order to support others when teaching classroom routines and skills, and to give students who were working on a target skill an opportunity to celebrate and show their success with learning new skills.


Reinforcing Classroom Routines and Procedures
A teacher consistently notices a student having difficulty unpacking during morning routines. To guide the student in successfully accomplishing this process, the teacher creates a Task Analysis. First, the teacher breaks down the task into discrete steps (e.g., 1-Place backpack on seat / 2-Open backpack / 3-Take out folder / 4-Take homework out of folder) and creates an illustrated outline of these steps for the student. The teacher explains and demonstrates each step in isolation. Over time, the teacher and student practice the steps. As the student masters each step, the teacher introduces one more. Once the process have been learned, the teacher posts the Task Analysis outline on the student’s desk for reference.
Teaching Life Skills to Support Individualized Student Needs
A teacher notices that a student's shoelaces are often untied. The teacher states, “Barry, could you please tie your shoes so you can walk safely?” to which Barry replied, “I don’t know how to.” First, the teacher uses observations to assess that the student only knows how to tighten laces, but not how to keep the laces in place. Next, the teacher creates a [[ | Shoe Tying Task Analysis ]] to teach this life skill by outlining each discrete step with images (e.g., pull laces, make an “X”, hold middle, put lace in hole). Each step is practiced multiple times in isolation to help the student work towards mastery.

Related Strategies