The first step in any training program should be a needs
assessment. A needs assessment is a systematic exploration of
the gaps between the current situation and the desired or necessary
situation in relation to the issue in question. The analysis
of the current situation includes determining the present
state of skills, knowledge, and abilities of the current and/or
future target audiences. This analysis also examines specific
organizational goals, climate, and internal and external constraints.
The analysis of the desired or necessary situation
focuses on the necessary standards for change, as well as the
skills, knowledge, and abilities needed to accomplish these successfully.
It is important to identify the desired or necessary conditions
for organizational and personal change, and not just observe the
current practices. A distinction must be made between the actual
needs and the perceived needs, or wants.
The difference between the current and the desired or necessary
situation will identify the needs, purposes, and objectives of
the training program.
To facilitate a needs assessment, it might be helpful to
consider the following questions: