Needs Analysis and Data Collection Methods.
Step 1. Define the Objectives
In this step, the Instructional Designers should determine the objectives for the training. They should also identify problems and root causes, determine if training is the best solution for the problem, and provide the client with suggestions on the scope, methods frequency, cost, and location of the training
Step 2. Identify Data
In the second step of the needs analysis, the Instructional Designers should identify the necessary data. They should also find out what is it that
people should be able to do at end of the course that they can't do now.
Additionally, in this step, the Designer should determine the nature and quantity of information. This can be done through conducting surveys, reviewing financial statements, job descriptions, work samples, and archives.
Step 3. Select Data-Collection Method
In this step, the Instructional Designer chooses a method for gathering information.
• Group Discussions
• Key Considerations
• Work Samples
Step 4. Collect the Data
At this point, the Instructional Designer uses the chosen method to collect the required data.
Step 5. Analyze the Data
In this step, the ISD professional should review and organize the data, and compare the new data with the past years' information.
Step 6. Prepare the Final Report
In this step, the Instructional Designer creates an analysis document. The analysis document should include problems, needs, and weak areas. Recommended strategies should also be outlined in this document. In addition, including graphs, tables, and other visuals can make the document more visually attractive.
Interviews serve as good instruments for conducting needs analysis. It is recommended to have the interview protocol (list of questions) printed out before the interview. Also, it might be beneficial to tape the interview. However, if the Designers decide to go this route, they should always ask for permission.
Interviews can supplement data gathered from observations.They also help to clarify confusing information. Note that interviews do not have to be done in person. Phone interviews can also work well especially if the Subject Mater Expert is located off site.
Focus groups are very similar to interviews, but instead of interviewing people individually, the Designer interviews them in a group. When conducting a focus group, it's important to make sure that its size is between 5 and 12 participants. Even though focus groups have many advantages including those of interviews, there are also some disadvantages. For instance, some people might be intimidated to give their honest opinion in front of other people. Also, focus groups are very resource intensive, and may require more than one facilitator.
Surveys are questionnaires that ask a number of focused questions. Surveys are very popular among Instructional Designers because they provide quick results, which are easy to tally.
However, there are certain things that Instructional Designers must know before creating a survey. In order for participants to correctly interpret the questions and provide accurate responses, the questions should be worded very clearly. Also, it is easy to skew the results by choosing answers without even reading the questions.
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