Learning  Path: Needs Assessment 101
Learning Path

Learning Path: Needs Assessment 101- Entry Level


When working on learning and development projects, many immediately race to create course materials and roll out initiatives without upfront analysis of what is driving the need or how to ensure results. They often operate in an “order taker” mode, relying on information from the requestor about content, learner needs, the duration of training, and project completion deadlines. Here, you will learn a systematic approach for conducting your own assessment of the individual and organizational performance needs that drive requests for learning and development solutions.

  • Apply a systematic process to conducting a needs analysis that aligns learning solutions with business outcomes.
  • Collaborate with others to identify the individual performance levels necessary to meet organizational goals.

Simply stated, a needs assessment identifies gaps between current and desired results—not means—and places those in priority order on the basis of the costs to meet the needs as compared to the costs to ignore the needs. These gaps are called needs, and needs chosen for resolution can also be referred to as problems. By defining need as the gap between current and required results, we have the basis for justifying not only where we should head but also the evidence for proving the costs of meeting the need—getting to the ‘right’ destination—as well as the costs for ignoring the need.

Here are some of the top resources on Needs Assessment that ATD has developed:

1. 5 Data Collection Methods for Assessing Training Needs: Consideration for Data Collection Analysis (Video) by Deadra Welcome.


2. They've Got Answers, You Needs the Right Questions (Insight) by Beth McGoldrick

3. Develop Valid Assessments (TD at Wortk) by Patti Shank

4. Business Alignment: Assessing Performance Needs by Patti Phillips

Additional Suggested Books:
Needs Assessment Basics, 2nd Edition

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