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Needs Assessment

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The following four central questions must be answered before
you begin designing a training course.
• Audience: Who is the target audience for a proposed training?
• Current roles: What do members of this target audience presently do in their roles?
• Knowledge gaps: What gaps exist between what these providers know how to do, and what they need to know to carry out their roles successfully?
• Outcome: Will training help fill this gap?

These questions form the foundation of a training needs assessment.
For example, a curriculum developer or trainer must first understand what civil defence, civil contingency or disaster management personnel presently do in their jobs and how training could change the nature of their work. As a result, they will be better able to determine what knowledge and skills needed. However, it is important to keep in mind that training is only part of a solution to meet professional needs identified in needs assessment. Other changes – in addition to training – may be needed in order to completely fill a learning gap.

In addition, adult learners’ particular learning needs are important considerations when designing training. Understanding those needs is part of the needs assessment phase.