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The System Approach

The system approach7 is used to develop the program. This approach necessitates the following steps:

  • Identify in exact terms whatever the learner must be able to do at the end of training.
  • Develop objective criteria by which we can measure whether the learner has attained performance objectives.
  • State whatever has to be learned so that the learner can behave in the way described. Thus we establish the learning task.
  • Specify what the training program has to do and by what means or by whom, and when, and where, to assure that the learner will complete the learning task.
  • Design the program, pretest the design, and implement it.
  • Evaluate the outcomes achieved, comparing them to the goals and objectives set at the outset. Make recommendations for improvement in the future.

When Banathy described the system approach, he wrote that systems have:8

  1. Purpose: What has to be done.
  2. Process: The operations and functions that are engaged to accomplish the purpose
  3. Content: The parts that comprise the system.

Note that the sequence of purpose, process, and content is important because it implies priorities. All of the these ingredients are built into the White Stag program.

Banathy wrote8:61 that a systems approach is multi-directional, in that it not only allows feedback, but it also has feed-ahead or feed-forward strategies for selecting learning experiences. Thus, systems are dynamic, rather than liner as some people would like us to believe

The system approach includes developing goals and objectives. For additional information, see Resources for Leadership, Manager of Learning.


[7] Bánáthy, 1964.

[8] Bánáthy, B. (1968). Instructional Systems. Palo Alto, California: Fearon Publishers.