Unit 2: Subordinate Skills Analysis

Overview | Objectives | Resources | Events 


Instructors in PreK-12, higher education and corporate settings often begin the instructional design process by listing objectives that have been defined by professional organizations, state boards, accrediting agencies and local school districts, or by generating their own list based on their own past experiences and expertise. The problem with this (subject matter expert) approach is that it often results in some objectives that are not directly related to the goal or failure to identify objectives that are essential for meeting the goal.

In addition, when instructors begin the instructional design process by listing objectives, the relationship between the objectives is not always clear making it difficult for learners discern the connection among specified objectives or the relationship between the targeted objectives and prior knowledge.

For the Course Project, you select either one of the core competencies or one of the whole-tasks specified in the Whole-Task Goal Analysis. For Unit 2, you and your team are to identify the subordinate skills and entry behaviors associated with the assigned core competency or whole-task by conducting a Subordinate Skills Analysis. The results of your subordinate skills analysis will be subordinate skills analysis diagram that identifies and illustrates the relationship among subordinate skills and entry behaviors for your instructional unit.

Subordinate skills analysis is probably the most difficult and time consuming of all systematic design tasks. You and your team members should allocate at least 10 hours to complete this unit. The good thing is that after completing your subordinate skills analysis, you will find the remaining systematic design tasks to be relatively easy (and a lot more fun)–we promise!



Terminal Objective. Given an instructional goal statement and goal analysis chart, draw a diagram (aka. instructional map) that illustrates the relationships among subordinate skills and entry behaviors by conducting a subordinate skills analysis.

Enabling Objectives. You should be able to:

  • Describe performance criteria for completing an instructional analysis;
  • Distinguish instructional analysis from other related analysis techniques.
  • Describe the steps for conducting an instructional analysis; and
  • Apply the conventions associated with creating an instructional map.


Required Resources

To complete this unit, you should have access to:

  • The class project Instructional Goal Statement and Goal Analysis Diagram;
  • Several packages of Post-It-Notes; and
  • A software application that enables you to generate a flowchart (e.g., MS PowerPoint, Visio, Inspiration).


Recommended Events

  1. Read Dick, Carey & Carey (2022) Chapter 4 – Identifying Subordinate Skills and Entry Skills. Again, I encourage you to follow the case study.
  2. Complete the practice items provided at the end of Chapter 4 using feedback in textbook to check your own work.
  3. Read Unit 2.0 – Subordinate Skills Analysis Supplement.
  4. Complete optional Quiz 2 to self-assess and monitor your own acquisition of key concepts.
  5. Prepare an individual draft Subordinate Skills Analysis for your design project.
  6. Be sure to review examples of related analyses published in the course textbook.
  7. Share and discuss individual drafts with your teammates. Either select or generate one that represents your team’s best efforts for Assignment 1 (Analysis Report).
  8. Respond to any posted questions and post any additional questions or comments you may have about the information covered in this unit in the proper location on the course bulletin board system.


Last Updated 08/19/23


Instructional System Design Copyright © by Atsusi Hirumi. All Rights Reserved.

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