Step 4: Determine job responsibilities (or competencies) and major job tasks related to the gap in skills and knowledge

Statements that define the overall skills and knowledge gap and learning goal (as in Step 1) are just the starting point for determining what the learning intervention will teach. These statements are not precise enough to define the content of a learning intervention.

In this step, the learning content is defined more precisely by describing the job responsibilities (or job competencies) related to the skills and knowledge gap. Job responsibilities are then broken into the major job tasks.


Use Tool #7 Job Responsibilities and Tasks Worksheet to identify the job responsibilities and major job tasks.

  1. List the job responsibilities or competencies where there is a skills and knowledge gap. Sources of information abut job responsibilities include:
    • written job descriptions
    • national service delivery guidelines
    • results of a performance needs assessment
    • interviews with health workers who need to participate in the learning intervention
    • interviews with supervisors and current expert health workers.
    List ONLY the job responsibilities or competencies that are directly related to the performance gap. Limiting the learning intervention to what is essential is the key to focusing the intervention where it is most needed and developing an efficient intervention that uses available time and money to the best advantage.

  2. Break each job responsibility or competency into its major job tasks.
    • Begin each task description with a "doing" verb (action verb) (e.g., provide, examine, wash, counsel).
    • Describe the tasks as a performance (a behavior that can be observed and measured) so that it can be evaluated by observation. If a job task cannot be described in "doing" terms, it may be information (or job knowledge) rather than a job task. Job knowledge is addressed in Step 5: Specify essential skills and knowledge.
  3. Include ONLY the major job tasks that are NECESSARY to carry out the job responsibility. Unnecessary tasks should not be included in the learning intervention. Job responsibilities and tasks listed in this step may be further refined based on additional criteria in later steps, e.g., learner characteristics.

Box 9: Sample job responsibilities and related job tasks
Job responsibility Selected job tasks related to job responsibility
Provide postpartum family planning (FP)
  • With the client, determine the most appropriate FP method
  • Instruct client on FP method use
  • Plan for return visit
Provide antenatal care
  • Take a targeted antenatal history
  • Estimate the date of delivery
  • Help pregnant woman and her family develop a birth preparedness plan
Clean the examination rooms
  • Prepare disinfectant cleaning solution
  • Wipe all surfaces with an appropriate disinfectant solution

Helpful Hints


  1. Job Responsibilities or Competencies and Tasks Worksheet /