DACUM (Developing A CurriculUM) is an occupational analysis method that can be applied to the development of education and training curricula. It often results in a job or task analysis. A DACUM is intended to be a quick and effective method for carrying out an occupational analysis at a low cost. It results in the production of a chart listing the duties, tasks, knowledge, skills, traits, and, in some
cases, tools a worker uses to perform a job or occupation. The DACUM chart provides the relevant foundation for developing a curriculum and related instructional materials.

The DACUM process uses direct observation, interviews, and surveys to generate data for training materials and competency tests. It uses teams of five to 12 workers and subject matter experts (SMEs) guided by a facilitator to describe in a clear and precise way the “know how” involved in a particular job. SMEs are included to insure that the DACUM results identify both what workers actually do and what successful workers should do.

The DACUM process is based on three premises:

  1. Expert workers can describe or defi ne their jobs bet- Expert workers can describe or define their jobs better than anyone else.
  2. Any job can be described in terms of the tasks that successful workers perform.
  3. All tasks depend on workers possessing a specific body of knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

The process identifies job duties and tasks and then ranks them according to which ones are important and which ones are difficult to learn (Hale, 2000).

In the case of a renewable energy curriculum, experts would convene to determine what the job focus of the curriculum would be—such as conservation/energy management, building sciences, installer training (solar thermal, wind, or PV) or some combination of these. The SMEs would identify the knowledge and skills that define the job and produce a job or task analysis that could be used to determine the courses a curriculum should include.

A sample DACUM for distributed energy technicians is included in Appendix A of this document. The Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center (ATEEC) offers a very good description of the DACUM method.


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