In our early studies of how people learn we were continually confronted with the problem of how to analyse people’s behaviour using MAP ideas. During Laurie’s earlier research with the Tavistock Institute into the uses of psychology for teaching management and in particular work study, he had found it very useful to quote from Miller, Galanter and Pribram’s 1960’s book; Plans and the Structure of Behavior. In this they introduced the idea of TOTE (Test – Operate – Test – Exit).

In particular the TEST is closely related to our Perception in the MAP description and the OPERATE is like our Action.

We have found this idea of hierarchical analysis very useful both in analysing a skill using the MAP idea and also in what we have called PLTA (Personal Learning Task Analysis) behaviour.

So the TOTE idea of hierarchical analysis as a technique of cognitive psychology applies equally to work-study in both its `micro’ and `maxi‘ forms and also to our idea of the MAP analysis. So the TOTE, PLTA and the MAP hierarchies although based on the same idea can be applied differently when used by psychologists, trainers and S-O-L Coaches.

Over the years, we have improved on how we use these three different methods in our many projects both as psychologists and S-O-L practitioners.

In each of these three uses of hierarchical task-analysis the individual part [TOTE], [MAP or [PLTA] checks and maintains their increasingly effective operation. But equally, if not more important are the up and down connections which trigger the operation of the item below and then organise the sensory feedback to the controlling item above.