What Is Needs Assessment?

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C H A P T E R

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WHAT IS NEEDS ASSESSMENT?
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Chapter Objectives • Identify why needs assessment is important • Identify different types of needs analysis

• Learn how to set expectations and gain participation for needs assessment • Decide who and what are assessed • Overcome five issues when conducting needs assessment Tools • Select the Right Type of Needs Analysis Chart

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• Identify the three phases in conducting a training needs assessment

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• Identify what you can do if your “client” doesn’t want to spend the time and money to do an assessment

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Training Needs Assessment

Chapter Questions • What is needs assessment? • Why conduct a needs assessment? • Why are needs assessments valuable to an organization? • How are training needs assessments done? • What is involved in the process of conducting a needs assessment? • How can you convince your client to invest in a needs assessment effort? • How can the trainer set expectations and gain participation when conducting a needs assessment? • Who decides which people are involved and what measures are assessed? • How are problems and barriers overcome when conducting a needs assessment?

What Is Needs Assessment?

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What Is Needs Assessment?
A needs assessment is the process of collecting information about an expressed or implied organizational need that could be met by conducting training. The need can be a desire to improve current performance or to correct a deficiency. A deficiency is a performance that does not meet the current standard. It means that there is a prescribed or best way of doing a task and that variance from it is creating a problem. The needs assessment process helps the trainer and the person requesting training to specify the training need or performance deficiency. Assessments can be formal (using survey and interview techniques) or informal (asking some questions of those involved). In this book, the term needs assessment is a general term for a three-phase process to collect information, analyze it, and create a training plan. Different types of assessments are called needs analysis, such as performance analysis, job/task analysis, target population analysis, and so forth. Needs assessment often involves the use of more than one type of analysis.

Why Conduct a Needs Assessment?
The purpose of a needs assessment is to answer some familiar questions: why, who, how, what, and when. Following the definitions of each type of needs assessment is the common needs analysis term. 1. Why conduct the training: to tie the performance deficiency to a business need and be sure the benefits of conducting the training are greater than the problems being caused by the performance deficiency. Conduct two types of analysis to answer this question: (1) needs versus wants analysis and (2) feasibility analysis. 2. Who is involved in the training: involve appropriate parties to solve the deficiency. Conduct a target population analysis to learn as much as possible about those involved in the deficiency and how to customize a training program to capture their interest. 3. How can the performance deficiency be fixed: training can fix the performance deficiency or suggest other remediation if training is not appropriate. Conduct a performance analysis to identify what skill deficiency is to be fixed by a training remedy.

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Training Needs Assessment

4. What is the best way to perform: there is a better or preferred way to do a task to get the best results. Are job performance standards set by the organization, such as standard operating procedures (SOPs)? Are there governmental regulations to consider when completing the task in a required manner? Conduct a task analysis to identify the best way to perform. 5. When will training take place: the best timing to deliver training because attendance at training can be impacted by business cycles, holidays, and so forth. Conduct a contextual analysis to...
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