Training Needs Assessment

Check Your Progress

From The Field:
A Botswana Story

A needs assessment tool that can be used across different contexts and countries is the Needs Assessment Questionnaire: School Needs in Botswana. This questionnaire was originally used with teachers to determine the HIV-related education needs of students, families, staff, and community members in Botswana communities. The form was used to first determine what HIV-related materials and education are presently being used and implemented in a given community and what needs must be addressed in the future related to HIV education and training.

This needs assessment form also asks for information about how people feel about the training they presently have, whether they think such training has made a difference, and whether they are confident in their ability to discuss HIV-related issues and even confront fellow staff members. Schools in Botswana have used this form to help them determine what HIV-related education they should provide not only to students but perhaps even to parents and other community members. You can adapt this form to fit the needs of any organisation by changing the questions to be more relevant to your target group of training participants.

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The following four central questions must be answered before you begin designing a training course.

  • Audience: Who is the target audience for a proposed training?
  • Current roles: What do members of this target audience presently do in their roles as healthcare providers?
  • Knowledge gaps: What gaps exist between what these providers know how to do, and what they need to know to carry out their roles successfully?
  • Outcome: Will training help fill this gap?

These questions form the foundation of a training needs assessment. For example, a curriculum developer or trainer must first understand what nurses presently do in their jobs and how HIV will change the nature of their work. As a result, they will be better able to determine what knowledge and skills nurses need to learn in order to care for HIV patients. However, it is important to keep in mind that training is only part of a solution to meet the professional healthcare needs identified in your needs assessment. Other changes—in addition to training—may be needed in order to completely fill a learning gap.

In addition, adult learners' particular learning needs are important considerations when designing training. Understanding those needs is part of the needs assessment phase.

This section contains two primary areas: Assessing Training Needs and Working with Adult Learners. Also check out the Online Resources available on training needs assessment.

Also included in this section on training needs assessment is a From the Field example of how to use a few of the tools to conduct a needs assessment of a training. Don't forget to click on Chart your Progress to help you monitor your training needs assessment tasks.

NOTE: Conducting an evaluation after completing each step of the training process will help you provide your target audience with the best training possible. See the Process Evaluation forms available in the Evaluation section of the Toolkit to help you evaluate the needs assessment phase of your training.