Cluster Analysis

What is a cluster analysis?

"For goals within the verbal information domain, conduct an 'elaboration analysis,' or 'cluster analysis'" (Oliver, 2002, section 3, para. 3). A cluster analysis is used to analyze verbal information skills where no logical order is required to meet the stated goal(s) (Muffoletto, 2000).

How do I conduct a cluster analysis?

Before conducting a cluster analysis, an instructional designer needs to first ask if there is a logical order to the steps needed to meet the goal. After determining there is no logical order needed to meet the goal, the next step for the designer is to identify the clusters or categories of information in each step. Oliver (2002) suggests the following procedure when analyzing goals within the verbal information domain.

  1. Identify the main concept
  2. Determine how the knowledge is structured (e.g., parts, kinds, classes)
  3. Identify first-level headings, second-level headings, and so-forth
  4. Try to identify what is related to the information being taught.

Can I see an example of a cluster analysis?

Please see the graph below:

What examples are in the literature?

Yousef, A. M. F., Chatti, M. A., Wosnitza, M., & Schroeder, U. (2015). A cluster analysis of MOOC stakeholder perspectives. RUSC Universities and Knowledge Society Journal, 12(1), 74-90. Retrieved from

Kerr, D. &, Chung, G. K.(2012). Using cluster analysis to extend usability testing to instructional content. Retrieved from

Task Analysis