Needs Assessments in Program Development Prepared By: Jim Marion, Bruce Kellington, Curtis Kerr, Tim Williams, and Krystle Robinson
What is a Need? <ul><li>How is program development influenced by need? </li></ul><ul><li>Whose need is of most worth? </li></ul><ul><li>Differences between need- personal, societal, employee or employer, labour market </li></ul>
Definition of Need <ul><li>Some example definitions: </li></ul><ul><li>“ A gap between a present, or initial, or existing set of circumstances and some changed set of circumstances” ( Knox, p.2, n.d) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Something required; : To have an absolute requirement for; : To want strongly; to feel that one must have something; To be obliged or required to” (Wiki Dictionary: en.wiktionary.org /wiki/need ) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Anything necessary but lacking” (Word Net Web) </li></ul>
What is a Needs Assessment? <ul><li>Needs assessment is a process for determining and addressing needs, or "gaps" between current conditions and desired conditions, often used for improvement projects in education/training, organizations, or communities. ... (Wikipedia- en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Needs_assessment ) </li></ul><ul><li>A systematic process for determining the needs of a defined population; the process of researching need, available services, and service gaps by population and geographic area. ( www.visitorstudies.org/index.php ) </li></ul>
Role of Needs Assessments <ul><li>The implementation of a needs assessment when developing a new program is one of the most important steps. </li></ul><ul><li>The needs assessment must validate the requirement for a new program. It doesn't make any sense to design and set up something new, if there is little or no need or interest. </li></ul><ul><li>By analyzing feedback from a needs assessment, a program may be custom designed and structured. Instead of just following a template of a program that may already be set up somewhere else, the needs assessment will help a designer make the new program unique. </li></ul>
Role Cont’d <ul><li>Labour demands change with time, therefore a needs assessment is an important tool in identifying gaps and recognizing important skills that may be missing in today's workforce. </li></ul><ul><li>The needs assessment also plays a major role in keeping programs current and up to date. On a personal note, Tim Williams and myself, are instructing electrical students with textbooks from the United States. All of the formulas use the imperial system, unfortunately our "Canadian Electrical Code" book uses the metric system…… Maybe we need a needs assessment. </li></ul>
Role Cont’d <ul><li>By providing critical appraisal the needs assessment is able to examine the many variables involved in program planning. Examples of some of these variables include personal, social, environmental, occupational, as well as current situation needs. </li></ul><ul><li>One of the most important roles that a needs assessment helps to provide, is an estimate of the cost of developing a new program, or refining an existing one. </li></ul><ul><li>Research suggests that needs assessments have “a fundamental role in education and training but care is needed to prevent it becoming a straightjacket” 1 </li></ul><ul><li>1 – Grant, J. (2001). University Centre for education in medicine. </li></ul>
Importance of Needs Assessments <ul><li>Needs assessments are the first step in the establishment of an education and training program. It is used as the foundation for: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Determining program objectives </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Selection and design of instructional programs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Implementation of the programs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluation of the programs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>*these processes form a continuous cycle that always begins with a needs assessment - http://www.ispi.org/pdf/suggestedReading/Miller_Osinski.pdf </li></ul></ul>
Importance of Needs Assessments Cont’d <ul><li>Needs assessments are important in the design and delivery of education and training programs because they inform the program developer of “who” needs a particular program and “what” type of program is needed. </li></ul><ul><li>They also identify if there are multiple needs, the urgency of need, the extent of the need, and what resources are available. </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.ispi.org/pdf/suggestedReading/Miller_Osinski.pdf </li></ul>
Importance Cont’d <ul><li>Despite the importance of needs assessments, many are poorly designed ( http://frank.mtsu.edu/~itconf/proceed98/rstewart.html ) </li></ul><ul><li>According to Alan B. Knox, Professor at Columbia University, If the needs we seek to identify and appraise are to provide a basis for program development, they must be relevant enough to the learner to evoke the requisite effort and attention. He also suggests that it is essential that prospective learners must identify that a gap exists if they are to participate, to learn and to use what they have learnt. </li></ul>
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