You can approach cultivating high-impact practices with transparent design in many ways, but what makes the most sense to us is to start with the task and reverse-engineer the purpose and criteria for success. This is because much of student work is task-based; we expect our workers to successfully complete tasks like shelving, paging/pulling items, answering patron questions, etc.

Once we’ve identified the skills and knowledge relevant to the purpose and criteria for success, we can write a sentence that frames the task in a way that can be useful in training. Let’s go back to our shelving example:

: shelving

What tools do students use to shelve? (Remember: skills are generally verbs and knowledge is generally nouns. And Bloom’s Taxonomy can help you name skills!)

: arranging books in their correct order; paying attention to detail

: Library of Congress call number system; layout of the collection in the building

Now how do students know they’re doing the task right?

: a system of reliably finding library items is working; books can be found

Why does the library need this task performed correctly? Use the criteria for success to inform your purpose statement.

: to make sure books can be found in the library when people need them

Now construct a sentence using these elements.

Students use the Library of Congress call number system [KNOWLEDGE] and building layout [KNOWLEDGE] to correctly arrange books on shelves [SKILL], paying attention to detail [SKILL], so that library books can be reliably found [CRITERIA FOR SUCCESS] when people need them [PURPOSE].

This gives us a full statement that explains the “how” and “why” we’re doing something! (See Transparent Design – The Basics) We’re calling this a “framework for training,” but you can use it in writing job descriptions and general conversations about why things need to be done a certain way.


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High-Impact Transparency for Supervising Student Workers Copyright © 2021 by Haylee Croydon and Jennifer Wells is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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