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What is a DACUM?

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Last Updated May, 2017

Question:

I've been hearing about DACUM in conjunction with training development. What the heck is a DACUM and how does it help me develop a lesson plan or training curriculum?

Answer:

A DACUM is a form of job analysis.  When developing a curriculum for correctional employees, one task is to assure that the topic and content is clearly job-relevant. In fact, job-relevancy is a component of legally defensible training in corrections.

DACUM, which stands for Developing a Curriculum, was pioneered at the Ohio State University Center on Education and Training for Employment. It is a means of researching and analyzing a particular job that results in a chart listing the duties, tasks, and related information about the job. That information can be applied in the development of a curriculum (and individual lesson plans) to assure and, in fact, document, that the content is directly relevant to what is required on the job. Given the failure to train liability and the risks inherent in corrections today, developing job-relevant training grounded in job analysis is not just a luxury but a necessity today.

DACUM Process

While there can be some variations in the DACUM process, basically, a panel of incumbents in the job (usually those who perform it well) develop a list of all duties and tasks associated with the job based on consensus. The panel also develops a list of knowledge and skills, tools, equipment, etc. that are essential for success. This all becomes complied in a DACUM chart which is a roadmap for identifying relevant training topics.  Often, since resources are limited and the DACUM chart can be quite extensive, the same panel or a panel of their supervisors (sometimes called a validation panel) will set priorities in terms of how frequently a task is performed and how critical it is to the mission. This can reduced the training burden to a more manageable level in a legitimate manner via the expert panel analysis.

DACUM Resources