Woman using VR to learn soft skills

4 Questions You Can Expect During a Needs Analysis

Your workforce needs training.  Whether it’s going to your in-house learning and development people, or reaching out to a vendor, you can expect instructional designers to ask a lot of questions. We do it for a reason. We want to identify the gap between what is happening now, what needs to happen in the future, and all the skills, knowledge, or attitudes needed to reach the future state.  

Let’s look at four questions you are likely to be asked. 

1. What is the business goal you are trying to achieve? 

Businesses don’t want to spend money on unnecessary training. It’s important to know how training your people will support the business objectives and goals. We want to get to the root “why” of the need.  

Training is required when behaviours need to change. A follow-up to the first question is: What do you want your workers to do in the future that they aren’t doing now?  

Sometimes, through these two questions, we can help you realize it’s not training you need. If you say you don’t need your employees to “do” anything differently, they only need to “know” something, that’s not training. That’s a communication to share information.  

2. What does success look like to you? 

Once the training need is determined, and we know what the business goal is, we want to know how you will be able to tell if the training is effective.  You will be strongly encouraged to plan how you will measure success. Is it an increased number of widgets produced? Is it fewer calls to the Help Desk? Is it better customer satisfaction scores?

If your business isn’t going to measure the impact of training, how will you know if you’re moving towards your goals?

3. What have you tried so far? 

The last thing we want to do is propose a learning solution that’s already been tried and didn’t produce results. We want to know what, if anything, has been done to address this issue in the past. If it’s a new issue – perfect! We can start from scratch. If it’s a recurring issue, then (as you’ve probably guessed by now), we’ll have a few more questions.

4. Who is your audience?

In order to make the solution as effective as we possibly can we need to know all about the people who will be using the course.  We ask questions like:

  • What is the age range? 
  • How many people will take the training? 
  • How they will take the training – in a classroom, on a smartphone, tablet, laptop? 
  • Do we need to develop for multiple languages?  
  • How much do they already know about the topic? 
  • Is there anyone who can act as an “expert user”? 
  • What is the attitude and interest level towards the topic? 
  • Do you anticipate any resistance to the topic this training addresses? 
    • How can we help you overcome it? 

There are likely to be many more questions, but if you come with answers to these questions, you are well on your way to a great working partnership and getting the learning solution you need.