A curriculum that prepares students for a technical occupation should present real-world, problem-based preparation.
An occupation can most effectively be described in terms of successfully performed job tasks or competencies.
The expert worker is the best source for recognizing and describing job tasks.
A basic description of DACUM activities:
The DACUM process has three main elements: needs assessment, a data-gathering workshop, and curriculum development.
A needs assessment is simply a focused effort to determine whether instruction is needed and, if so, in what area; this effort often begins with a curriculum review or labor market survey.
A DACUM workshop brings together a focus group of expert workers in a specific field or occupation for a brainstorming session (which can also be regarded as a structured group interview). A trained DACUM facilitator guides the workshop participants to produce a chart that lists the tasks performed by an entry-level worker in the occupation.
A curriculum designer can then use the DACUM chart to develop an industry-validated program of instruction for training an entry-level worker for the job.