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In instructional design, skill decomposition is the activity of first identifying the end goal of a learning event in terms of what the learner should see and be able to do as the result of the learning events and activities, and next, breaking down the component skills into smaller and smaller increments of skill and attendant knowledge. The latter decomposition effort continues until the skills are at such a rudimentary level that it would be a pragmatically wasted effort to continue further. Engagement in skill decomposition typically begins with a needs assessment or analysis, during which time performance challenges are identified and the gap between current and desired results due specifically to insufficient skill is identified.

Once the target skills-focused objective(s) is or are identified, the ...

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