Thursday, September 24, 2009
CFATS Training- Task Definition
We continue looking at training development for security forces at high-risk chemical facilities. Many of the concepts, if not the details, we are discussing can be applied to development of any of the security training that needs to be conducted at such facilities. The earlier blogs in this series include: CFATS Training CFATS Training – Security Job List CFATS Training- Security Task List In earlier postings we looked at how security procedure books for each security station at a high-risk chemical facility provides a listing of the security jobs that security personnel at that station need to be able to perform. Then we looked at how those jobs can be broken down into their component tasks. Today we will look at how those tasks are fleshed out into useable training tools. Task Definition Once the task list for all of the jobs at all of the security stations is compiled we need to further define what those tasks entail beyond just their task name. In the 1970’s the US Army revolutionized its training development with the realization that before they could define how a job needed to be done they first had to determine the conditions under which the job would be required to perform and how well the job needed to be done. This led them to the use of the Task-Condition-Standard method of defining a job task. When determining the task performance conditions, one of the first things that one needs to determine is if the task is a knowledge task or a performance task. Knowledge tasks are more passive and require the person completing the task to know something and process information based on that knowledge. This type of task is ideally suited to classroom type instruction and written tests. A performance task is one that requires physical action to complete. Most security duties predominantly utilize performance tasks. These tasks are better suited to hands on training with the equipment that will be utilized in a real world situation. Task performance evaluation is best done by requiring the person to actually perform the task with the provided equipment. This also lends itself to periodic on-the-job evaluation of task performance by observing the task completion in an actual job situation. Condition Statement For knowledge based tasks the condition statement for the task will explain under what conditions the knowledge will be applied in the field and the type decision that the person performing the task will be expected to make. For example the ‘Respond to a Security Incident’ task identified in an earlier blog would be a knowledge based task requiring the security person to correctly identify the type and severity of the situation before responding. The condition statement for a performance task details the equipment and information that must be available to complete the task as well as the conditions under which the task will be performed. In the “Conduct walk around inspection of tank wagon” task we listed earlier we would obviously need to have a tank wagon stopped at the security station. It would also require the presence of a shipping manifest or other document for the vehicle that describes essential information that the guard would be expected to check during the inspection Standard Statement The standard statement provides a measurable description of adequate performance of the task. For many tasks this is a relatively easy statement to define. On the “Check inbound manifest” the standard statement would require the detection of 100% of the differences between the offered manifest and the file manifest. Other tasks are more difficult to define measurable standards. On the “Check seals on locking device” the standard statement could require the detection of 100% of tampered seals but this would require the careful definition of ‘tampered seals’. Specific measurable performance standards typically lend themselves to realistic performance evaluations. A properly developed performance standard provides an unambiguous measure of task competency. This is an essential requirement for an effective training program. Knowledge based tasks are potentially the hardest to write performance statements for. What is frequently done is to use a standard written test and require a set number of correct answers to demonstrate adequate performance. While simple multiple choice tests for this type standard are easy to write, they are seldom good measures of a person’s knowledge of the information. A more thorough written test follows the case study model. A detailed description of a real life type situation that the person could be expected to respond to is provided. Pictures and short videos can be used to enhance the written description of the situation. If multiple choice answers are used to check responses, the provided responses need to be developed carefully. Providing incorrect responses that are obviously wrong defeats the purpose of the evaluation. These case study type evaluations can be useful for some hands-on type tasks. Where setting up a hands-on evaluation would be expensive or dangerous a properly designed case study written evaluation is probably a good choice. Other Supporting Information Once the task list is developed and the task definition is complete, the training developer begins to collect additional information about the task. Instructions on how to complete a task, safety information and, in some cases, legal requirements all need to be collected before the training developer can begin to develop the training plan.