Friday, July 29, 2011

The Need for Needs Analysis..!!!

Last week, I stumped upon an old e-learning course that our team had built. It was a Captivate demo on how to fill the 'My Info' page of our company's intranet. Back then, when we received the request, our team was kind of excited. Because our making this demo would mean that our service would be known for a lot more people, and this would bring in a lot of new requests. And that was all we thought about.

We created a user manual in PDF and an interactive demo using Captivate. We would have spend close to two weeks for the whole project and I must say we did a good job. 

But thinking about it now, I am not really very sure on how much value it brought for any one who used 'My Info'.

The question here is about the Needs Analysis.

Why Needs Analysis?

- To find out the actual necessity of an 'e-learning' course for training
- To understand the target audience, and finally
- To build a better course

How to conduct a Needs Analysis?

Most customers want the course to be ready by tomorrow. So we really dont have much time to send a survey form to some sample learners and consolidate their feedback. But we can always ask the customer for some basic details.
- How often do the learners use a computer?
- Do they have a speaker / audio set up?
- How fast would their internet connection be?
- What are the expected changes in the learners' behaviour or skills, after going through the course?

The answers to such questions will help you make a lot of decisions in the process of developing the course. It may not always be possible to conduct a formal Needs Analysis. But try to answer the questions above (and frame more of such questions) before you start developing your course. In fact the output of the Needs Analysis is a part of the input for the Course Design.

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