The IDEAL: Fuzzies – Why is Goal Analysis Necessary?

Icon of section IDEAL (Instructional Designer's Evolution through Analytical Learning)- Creative Agni ezine.

Coffeebeans has been harassing me to present her opinion at the beginning of this post, so let us get her out of our way and then begin 🙂
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In his book, “Goal Analysis” Dr. Robert F. Mager introduces the enigmatic fuzzy with the example of a manager who wants the employees to “communicate a positive attitude towards the company.”

“What’s wrong with that,” you might want to ask. After all we all speak fuzzily all the time. We expect people around us to be more understanding, we find the youth to be in utter disregard of our cultural values, we want job satisfaction, and we hope and pray for a bright future for our loved ones and ourselves! Let us face it. We are habituated to speaking in abstractions, and we carry this very human trait right into the act of writing learning objectives.

So our objectives end up looking like that ones listed below:

After completing this training program the learner will be able to:

  • Appreciate the spirit of Expressionism.
  • Better manage intra-team conflicts.
  • Engage with the customers positively.

And so on…

The question that we need to ask ourselves is – What is the exact performance that we should expect from the learner.

According to Dr. Robert F. Mager, fuzzies are important because they present the spirit of the objective. However, they need to be “un-fuzzified” if we want to turn them into useful goals or objectives.

In his own words,

“The goal analysis will unfuzzify the abstraction to a point where you can say whether there’s any useful meaning, and if so, what the essence of that meaning might be.”

Reflection Question:
What could be that one thing that if introduced into a fuzzy could unfuzzify it?
Hint: The answer is available above, albeit in a somewhat fuzzy state.

For one whole day, record every fuzzy statement that you encounter, and then attempt to unfuzzify it.