To structure procedures to facilitate learning, the procedure should establish learning “hooks” early on, and use these hooks to hang additional learning. In general, a procedure flow would look like this:
1. An introduction that describes the content of the procedure. The introduction, in concert with the procedure title (which in nearly every case would coincide with the description of a task), sets the boundaries around the learning. The learner is told what the procedure will describe, with the implied understanding that only information relevant to the task (identified in the title) will be presented.
2. Basic description of the task specifics. If the task focuses on operating a piece of equipment, then this section is used to build a task vocabulary. Terms are defined in this section.
3. More detailed description of task specifics. Again, if the task focuses on operating a piece of equipment, the description is expanded. Components within a section may be described (and illustrated), and controls for components may also be described.
4. Descriptions of specific activities. An “activity” is any set of actions that can be described in a sequence of numbered steps. In other words, it’s the “things the worker does” to perform the task and achieve the desired outcome.
5. Specialized information. This may include responses to upset or out-of-control conditions, or how to restart a process after an emergency condition has occurred.
With this type of structure, the learner is introduced to concepts, and details are built onto concepts to create more complete learning. This progression is simplified for the purpose of the blog post; there is much more layering and sectional structure that occurs in a procedure. These are covered in the procedure-writing course I have offered in previous posts and offer again, simply by asking me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The course is free until August 1. After that, the price doubles!