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About DACUMs

Occupational Analysis

DACUM = Developing A CurriculUM                JTA = Job Task Analysis

ATEEC employs several methods of occupational analysis, e.g., DACUM, JTA, strategic group interview, focus group, personnel interview, workforce analysis. For most of our projects, we've found the two most effective methods for determining occupational tasks and curriculum are DACUM and JTA. Each uses identical procedures, but gather input from slightly different sources. DACUM participants are current expert workers in the target job; JTA participants are content experts in the field.

Because the DACUM process is usually the most effective for technician-level jobs, the following is a description of that process. Keep in mind the process is the same for the JTA, only the source of input is different.

The overall DACUM process begins with a DACUM workshop. The DACUM workshop is a quick, effective, relatively low-cost method of occupational (or task) analysis. The goal of the occupational analysis is to develop competency- and performance-based learner-centered curriculum and instructional materials. Led by a trained facilitator, expert practitioners in an occupation in business & industry come together in a two-day workshop to provide input on the specific tasks, knowledge, and skills required to perform their job. During the workshop, the expert workers develop a DACUM chart as a graphical representation of their input. The DACUM chart is then used by educators, trainers, curriculum developers, or human resource professionals to:

  • Identify instructional needs and gaps.
  • Plan an instructional program or validate and revise an existing program.
  • Design and develop or revise curriculum.
  • Design and develop or revise instructional materials.
  • Provide teachers and trainers with valuable feedback on emerging and future trends in a career field.
  • Provide career guidance for students and trainees.
  • Ensure that students and trainees will have real-world skills to bring to the workforce.
  • Provide administration/management with qualitative data on curriculum validity.
  • Promote business and industry “ownership” in a school or training organization’s goals.
  • Assure employers that students meet business and industry job criteria and performance standards.
  • Network with business personnel who may agree to collaborate with a program by:
    • Joining an Advisory Committee
    • Becoming an adjunct faculty member
    • Donating needed equipment
    • Providing speakers
    • Funding, etc.
  • Use as a public relations tool to show effectiveness of college-business-community partnerships.

The DACUM process continues by using the tasks identified in the chart developed by the expert workers to create learning or performance objectives. The objectives are the keystone of a learning framework upon which to base the design, development, or modification of an educational or training program.

ATEEC has a number of DACUM-trained facilitators who may be contracted to lead DACUM workshops or other types of occupational analysis efforts (in either a traditional or online format). They may also be contracted to assist in the resultant development and/or revision of educational and training curricula.

DACUM Facilitation Example