This is one of the first questions that may be asked when playing the Learning Loop™ , a new and exciting replacement for the traditional ‘train-the-trainer’ course.
Notice that it does not say “Training Needs Analysis” or “Learning Needs Analysis”, simply “Needs Analysis”.
By implication, if you conduct a Training Needs Analysis (TNA), any of the solutions will be training courses. In the same way, if you conduct a Learning Needs Analysis (LNA), the solutions will be broader than for the TNA, but the assumption is that the outputs will involve learning of some sort.
So if you conduct a Needs Analysis (NA), you will look beyond training or learning requirements and it may force you to identify the problem(s) more clearly and concisely. Now you may worry about conducting a Needs Analysis, for fear that you might be required to solve problems which are beyond the scope of what L&D does. This is where working with the right stakeholders will really help. If you identify a problem outside of your remit, your stakeholders will be grateful, but not necessarily expect you to solve it. In this way you do not end up wasting your money on training or learning that is not required. Again, happy stakeholders!
Going back to the question raised in the title……
Reasons to conduct a needs analysis:
- To ensure you have measurable outcomes
- To rule out that the problem has nothing to do with training or learning
- To make the design easier (clear objectives)
- To get on board with your stakeholders requirements
- To get an idea of the gaps in knowledge, skills and behaviours so you will know how to fill them
- To identify any issues that were not identified in the brief
- To get line manager buy-in for follow up (the biggest reason training fails)
Can you think of any more?
If you would like to learn how to do an impactful needs analysis that will help you demonstrate value in all of your learning r training interventions then take a look at this new online course “How Not To Waste Your Money On Training”