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Sorting Clothes Properly

Idaho Youth Ranch - Promising Futures

For this project, students worked with the Idaho Youth Ranch (IYR) to create job aids for employees sorting clothes.

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Provided on this page is a sample of the project including Team Members, Training Requirements Analysis, and the Learner and Environmental Analysis.  For a full description of the project including the team charter, task analysis, team project status report, job aids, performance requirements, performance assessment instrument, Idaho Youth Ranch instructional plan, and end of project status report, see the full PDF report.

Download Sorting Clothes Properly (PDF)


Spring 2021

Team Members

  • Cindy Simms-West
  • Alejandro Maya
  • Branden Nunez
  • Jill Meyer

Training Requirements Analysis (TRA)

Clothes sorting is done every day therefore it is important that the job aids describe in detail the difference between mens, womens and childrens clothing and what is considered ‘good’ quality. Those who work at IYR do not speak English as a first language, therefore the job aid must be done primarily in pictures with as little text as possible. It is important that the task performance be shown in detail by photos. Consequences for task being wrong are at most a double handle, but there is no consequence to the worker’s environment, health or safety.

Workers will concentrate on task with little to no changes in their day to day tasks.

The use of a job aid is imperative in supporting the task performance. Due to how often the task is done and the goal to have ‘as few touches’ as possible, a job aid would differentiate good quality versus bad quality clothing as well as examples of traditional Western clothing for the learners to be able to visualize.

Learner & Environmental Analysis

Descriptive Title for the Project

Creating a job aid to be used by employees who conduct a sorting process at the Idaho Youth Ranch donation center. The intent of the job aid is to increase the efficiency, accuracy and speed of the employees who sort the clothing. The job aid will be in the form of a binder in or near the sorting area. The employees sort the items by gender and discard clothing that is too damaged for resale.

Brief Description of the Learners

The learners are a diverse group of employees who sort clothing at the donation center. Most of them speak Swahili and are from Congo. These employees are not used to western style clothing and most are not from English speaking areas.

Sources and Methods

  • Interview with Client: Melanie O’Neill (video): Interview via video
  • Video recording of process: Video Observation
  • Job Description: Document
  • Soft Line Grader Acknowledgement: Document
  • Interview with SME: Interview via video
  • Training Manual: Document

Data-Gathering Instruments

  • The interview was conducted through Zoom
  • The observation was conduction through a video clip of an employee in the sorting area
  • The job description was sent to our team via a Word Document
  • The Soft Line Grader Acknowledgement was sent to our team via a Word Document
  • The training manual was provided as a Word document with imagery

Findings and Implications


  1. Ages range from the mid 20’s to 30’s. Most of the employees sorting are women, there are some men. Instructional Implications: The signage will need to appropriately identify gender specific garments due to the cultural differences.
  2. English may be a second language for some. Most of the employees speak Swahili and are from Congo. There are other primary languages represented amongst the group as well. Instructional Implications: Signage and pictures can transcend the language barriers. Text in English should be
    minimal. Text can be translated by other employees in the center.
  3. Employees may not be very comfortable w/tech. Most have an iPhone but most don’t have company emails or access to much technology on the job. Instructional Implications: Online training not an option, technology is not readily available.

Prior Knowledge

  1. New employees typically do not have a background in sorting and need to be taught to differentiate between mens and womens clothing. Instructional Implications: The job aids should clearly explain what items are damaged, torn, covered in paint/etc and where to discard these items
  2. The employees may not know what clothing should be assigned to each gender based on their lack of knowledge of western clothing. Instructional Implications: The images should provide examples of mens, womens and childrens clothing.
  3. Many employees have been employed for at least one year. Instructional Implications: Job aid can be usable for new and existing employees.

Targeted Skills

  1. Faster, accurate and more efficient sorting of clothing. Instructional Implications: Job aids should focus on how to recognize items that should be discarded and what gender the items should be sorted to. Job aid needs to identify the correct category of clothing assortment.

Relevant Contextual Factors

Orienting Context

  1. The employees may want to become more efficient with the sorting to eliminate double handling of items. Instructional Implications: The job aid should be simple and used in a quick manner with not too much detail.

Instructional Context

  • There are production leads and supervisors who may provide additional training prior to sorting. Instructional Implications: The job aids may be used by the supervisors or production leads in a training environment prior to the sorting

Transfer Context

  1. The workplace is a large warehouse environment with loud noise, conveyor belts and sorting tables. Instructional Implications: Presenting the sorting methods via imagery and signage is the most logical solution.
  2. The employees are a close-knit community. Instructional Implications: Buy in to the job aid can be leveraged in a positive manner.

Mode of Delivery

  • Self-paced training can include print-based workbooks/job aids. Rationale: A job aid in the form of a supplemental binder with imagery has been requested by the client and seems to be the best option for the workplace environment and individuals who sort the clothing.
  • Structured on-the-job training – job shadowing. Rationale: The process is not too complex, solving the recognition of clothing cultural differences are the learning tasks at hand.

Operating Assumptions

  • IYR will translate any text we need them to Swahili
  • IYR will print out and provide job aides produced for each working station
  • Workplace will be have space for a binder if needed. IYR employees will have access to area where binder will be stored
  • Workplace will have space set up with items needed and employee does not need to gather anything as part of this process
  • Employees are trained separately on how to fill out sheet they put on full clothing racks
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