Google Analytics

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Analysis: You Need a Needs Analysis

We had a beautiful audio track for the online module but only a handful of the learners in the field had speakers…so, basically no one could hear the audio. --Training Director of Large Fortune 500 Company
Unfortunately this situation, and hundreds like it occur every day because the "Analysis" step of the ADDIE model is ignored.

There are many reasons to conduct a Training Needs Analysis, some are obvious, like when a new software program is being introduced into an organization. Some are not so obvious like when customer orders are declining. Sometimes a needs assessment will tell you that, indeed, a learning intervention such as a training class or the development of an e-learning module is needed

Other times, the solution will not involve learning at all. Perhaps a process is flawed and needs to be redesigned or the individuals involved within the process are given incentives that are not congruent with the goals of the organization or the environment in which the work occurs is not favorable to the desired results (too much noise or not enough light. Or, more likely too fast-paced)

The value of conducting a needs analysis is that it helps ensure that any instructional solution that is proposed will be designed and developed to meet specific knowledge and skill needs of the organization.

The time taken to conduct the needs analysis is returned to the organization over and over again in terms of faster development and less “false starts.” If you do not conduct a needs assessment, you may run into one of several problems:
  • Designing instruction that doesn’t match the learners’ needs
  • Designing training for something that is not really needed.
  • Reconfiguring poor materials for a new media
  • Designing training when the problem is based on bad incentives or poorly designed forms or some other non-training issues.
  • Developing materials that do not fit within the current learning environment
  • Designing instruction that doesn’t fit the current technology (see block quote above.)
So, make the time to do an analysis, even a one hour focus group is better than no assessment at all. I find that if you ask learners why a certain behavior is or isn’t happening, they tend to know the answer and are often more accurate and insightful than management who, sometimes, only thinks they know the answer.

Use interviews, reports, questionnaires and surveys, assessments, and observations to get to the heart of the matter. Don’t take it on “faith” alone that training is the answer, do some investigating.

Recommended Games and Gadgets
Recommended Books
Content Guide

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ahhh... thanks Karl. So many think that the "Analysis" phase is about content and audience... how many texbooks ignore the learning environment - both physically and technologically.