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Certified Facilitator of Adult Learning

Helping People Learn

Now that you know the steps involved in a task, it’s time to look at the behaviors required to perform each step. Every task you do is an integration of 3 different behaviors. Brushing your teeth requires physically holding the toothbrush and opening your mouth, mentally knowing where the toothbrush is and how to put toothpaste on it, and emotionally wanting brush very well, well, or not so well because you are in a hurry.

The same goes for everything you teach to another person or train an employee to do.

A competency is composed of many small elements, all of which are necessary to perform a skill.

You must have the right information and thought process, the right confidence and willingness, and the right motor skills to perform almost every task in life. 

In behavioral analysis, you look at the skills you are asking someone to perform in terms of that they need to Think, Feel and Do in order to be considered skilled or successful. 

venn diagram thinking, feeling, doing

Continuing with the shipping example, I will illustrate a quick behavioral analysis on one of the steps – Select box and packing materials.

The physical, hands-on part of packing requires

  • Doing – to be able to work the tape gun and other packing tools and
  • Thinking and Doing – to be able to create a new type of box out of other boxes when you do not have the correct size box for the item

Deciding what type of box to use and what padding is needed requires:

  • Feeling – willingness to visualize how the box may be thrown around during shipping and how to add packing materials that will protect the items inside the box.
  • Thinking – applying standards of packaging set by the business to each box.


There is a hierarchy of elements within each skill or competency. They describe the logical steps necessary to to perform the skill, and therefore give clues as to how to teach the skill. The elements of thinking, doing, and feeling are closely related to each other and go from simple to complex. 

In our shipping example the skill to use packing tools needs to be attained before an employee can be expected to create a new box. 

In CFAL course you will learn how to perform this type of analysis in order to set your course objectives. I don’t guarantee it will be easy at first if you are not used to looking at the pieces of a behavior, but I do guarantee that once you’ve got it, you’ve got it. A light bulb turns on, a bell rings, and you are now able to see exactly what your learners, be they students or employees, or peers need you to teach so they may learn.