The Checklist: A simple requirement for success
Before they take off, even the most seasoned pilots are required to use a pre-flight checklist. In his book Checklist Manifesto, Atul Gawande applied this process to surgery and found that 80% of the doctors found the practice beneficial and in many cases, there was a rection in error. The book’s main point is simple: no matter how expert you may be, well-designed check lists can improve outcomes. If pilots and surgeons, who perform the same routine pre-surgery and pre-flight preparations over and over, rely on checklists, it is likely that students, professors, and training professionals will benefit from them. Here are some general steps to take to develop a personalized checklist:
- Consider the tasks that you frequently perform. In training, these might include broad tasks like developing a new course, delivering a lesson, conducting performance assessment, or more focused tasks like writing objectives or completing an assessment.
- Conduct a mini “task analysis,” where you list each step involved in the process. Be sure to make the list of tasks granular—imagine you will teach someone unfamiliar with how to perform the task.
- Create a visually appealing document to house your checklist.
- Make it easy to use. Consider where and when you are most likely to use your checklist (in your office, on the road, at home, etc.) and the most appropriate format (paper, notes page on your phone, tasks in outlook, Google doc, etc.)
- Try it out and revise it.
- Now use it! If surgeons and pilots rely on checklists to make sure they don’t forget an important step, you will undoubtedly benefit from their use.
I am currently working on a pre-class checklist for new online students. Add a comment to this post to include one or more essential items that should go on a checklist for online students before taking their very first class.