Needs Analysis

A formal learning intervention is usually carried out to fill a gap in knowledge and skills which is ultimately impacting the overall performance of the organisation.

The first part of the analysis phase is to conduct a needs analysis to determine whether training is required to fill the gap, and if eLearning is the best solution (if training is required).

Nuts and Bolts: Needs Assessment Basics

What to do when a manager calls and says something like, “My people aren’t motivated. We need some teambuilding training.”
From Dr. Jane Bozarth, the director of research for The eLearning Guild. 

There could be other contributing factors impacting a company performance like regulatory, environment, internal support structures, individual attitudes and capacity. it is easy to jump to conclusions and assume that individual performance issues can be fixed through training.

5 questions to ask in response to a training request

From JD Dillon, the founder and principal at LearnGeek, an insights and advisory group focused on helping organizations improve their learning ecosystems, enable their employees and achieve their business goals.

When we have concluded that a training intervention of some sort is the right path to follow, then we can conduct a Training Needs Analysis or TNA as it is affectionately known in the industry.

How to Conduct a Training Needs Assessment

Target Audience Analysis

Once it has definitely been decided that an eLearning solution is the most appropriate solution to achieve the needs of the organisation, then we can start the audience analysis.

If you are working within an organisation where the target audience are employees of the organisation, then this process can be easier than if our audience are “members of the public”.

We need to determine a number of factors about our audience that will influence the way we design, build and deliver the learning experience.

  • Location
    • Are there any language or cultural considerations
  • Types of organisations and Roles within the company
    • Are there any specific learning objectives based on roles and organisation or division within an organisation
  • Learner’s previous knowledge and experience
  • Computer and technical skills
  • Computer and software capabilities
  • Available learning time to undertake the learning activity
  • Physical location of leaner when learning taking place
    • This will determine internet connections and firewalls if learning from home or work.

It’s Not Just One Target Audience

From Training & Development Organisation. “Who are we designing for?” That’s traditionally one of the first questions asked by L&D when starting a training project.

Task and Topic Analysis

Once a specific learning goal has been identified, the learning designers need to ensure that the learning experience is being designed to achieve that goal. The SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) and the LDs (Learning Designers) work closely together during this phase to help the LD become familiar with the content and for the SME to work through the content to highlight the important information to be included.

The SMEs and the LDs will also undertake Task Analysis and/or Topic Analysis to determine the tasks required to complete specific processes (Task Analysis) or provide information at a more broader level (Topic Analysis).

How to Conduct a Task Analysis

Before starting development on a new eLearning project, it’s important to make sure you’ve collected and analyzed all the information used to justify the creation of an eLearning course in the first place.

If the course is intended primarily to provide information or achieve educational objectives broader than improving job performance, the ID will skip the task analysis and directly conduct a topic analysis to define the major topics and subtopics for the course.

The topic analysis aims to:

  • identify course content, and
  • classify content elements.

We’ll be exploring a continuation of the Design phase in the next level. Doing a thorough analysis can really help to ensure we are providing the most appropriate solution for our learners, not a solution that we, or management, think we need.

Types of Analysis for eLearning

Six Lenses for Looking at Analysis by Connie Malamed

Working with client / vendor Checklist

This checklist will work just as well when working internally or externally.

Feel free to download and use as you see fit.

Working with a vendor – checklist

Checklist to gather requirements
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