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Published in Profiles and Professional Learning

Henley College: Ben Heatherton

Business Administration lecturer, Ben Heatherton, uses HOW2s to support his task analysis of complex tasks.

I use Manipulatives as rehearsal for single tasks, helping to put them together for future units.

Task analysis and rehearsal

Business administration, Ben explained to me, is complex, often involving detailed procedures that need to be followed very precisely. With such a teaching challenge, an immediate question is how do you show the students all the elements of a process without overwhelming them, or confusing them? Big picture or detail — which should come first?

Ben has found, like so many of his colleagues from different schools (faculties) of the college, that manipulatives a very practical solution to this problem.

Although the illustration above is about the history of art, you are, nonetheless, able to see how students are faced with the task of recognising the various components of a process and then considering their sequencing in order or execution. 

By constructing and displaying the process in this way, students are better able to zoom into the detail of one stage of the process, rehearse it, and then look at it in the context of the process as a whole. Repeating this approach builds up the students’ skills in a graduated way, leading, as Ben explained to me, to a fluent execution of the whole process.