You are currently viewing What is a KSA?

What is a KSA?

  • Post author:
  • Post category:KSA

Adult training is only as good as its results it gets. It doesn’t matter how clever the training is, if it doesn’t result in the desired behavior, the training has bombed. The acronym KSA is one of the tools trainers and instructional designer can use to measure results.  

Before you read too far, this article is about the KSA acronym that stands for Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes. This is instead of the KSA acronym that stands for Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. The second, of course, is used by the United States Federal government for job openings.

What Are KSA’s?

KSA’s are objectives or domains that are used in Bloom’s taxonomy. These domains are cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. The first, K or Knowledge is the cognitive domain. The second, S or Skills is the psychomotor domain. The third and final, A or Attitudes is the affective domain.

KSA Goals  

When using KSA’s, a trainer’s goal is a student will have new knowledge, skills and attitudes about what they are teaching at the end of the session.

To better understand how they do this, let’s quickly examine each domain.

Knowledge – The Cognitive Domain

The cognitive domain of KSA is where a learner can recognize and/or recall facts, patterns, and concepts.  This knowledge is purely theoretical. The learner has no practical, hands-on experience.

For example, you read many books and articles on the martial arts. You know exactly what every move is called but you have never been on a training floor. While you may be a master of martial arts terminology you are definitely not a martial arts expert. 

Skills – The Psychomotor Domain

The psychomotor domain of KSA is where learners develop hands-on skills. The training can be on the job or in the classroom.

These skills can be physical movements, coordination and motor skills. For example, washing dishes or shoveling snow. It could also be programming or repairing a computer.

Let’s return to the martial arts example. This domain is when a learner can demonstrate different techniques on the training floor. They can perform a certain kick, block or punch.

Attitudes – The Affective Domain

Here learners can place more value on something. For example, classical music or snowboarding. This gives them new feelings and/or emotions. These new feelings allow them to have a different perspective and therefore a different attitude. 

You can check this domain by observing as a learner actively listens. They participate in class discussions. They are open to applying new knowledge. They practice a new kick without being prodded. Here they are incorporating the new behavior into their psyche.

Using KSA’s

Like other tools, you can use KSA’s to develop materials that match your learner’s level and abilities. This can make their learning stickier. This shortens the time it takes to habitually adapt the new behaviors Of course; this is exactly what trainers and instructional designers want from their training.  

While it might not be your default tool, KSA’s are important to understand as a learning professional. Keep them in your toolbox along with all the rest of your learning tools. They can make a big difference to your learning results.