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. We have to operate in an environment of trust, and trust is best built through objective evidence.
- Select approaches to assess learning needs for the organization, the task or job, and the individual.
- Outline methods for learning about the individual needs of your audience, and connect those to the design of an effective learning experience.
Assessing learning needs is all about identifying the goals and purposes for learning and ensuring they support both the organization and the individual. This path teaches you to focus on assessing learning needs at three levels—the organization, the job or task, and the individual.
Here are some of the top resources on Needs Assessment that ATD has developed:
- Business Alignment: Assessing the Performance Needs (Video) by Patti Phillips
- How Does Your Needs Assessment Align to the Bottom Line (Insight) by Roger Kaufman
- Task Analysis (TD at Work) by Alice K. Waagen
- Population Analysis Matrix (Job Aid) by ATD Staff
- Create the Condition for Fruitful Learning (Video) by Greg Owen- Boger
Additional Suggested Books:
Needs Assessment for Organizational Success (Book)