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close this bookCreative Training - A User's Guide (IIRR, 1998)
close this folderTraining needs assessment
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPurpose
View the documentMaterials
View the documentSuggested approach

Suggested approach

1. Preparing the questions

Prepare a list of questions that cover the three areas of concern. These questions should be concise and to the point. Aside from the basic personal information, following are some examples of TNA questions that you may want to ask the participants. (Note: They are not all relevant to all situations.)

· What are the problems and issues in your community? Explain them.

· What is the community doing to respond to such problems?

· As a member of the community, what is your role in responding to such problems?

· Have you ever been a member of a particular local, national or government organization? What was your position?

· What are your strengths and weaknesses when working with an organization?

2. Data gathering

After preparing the questions, the next step is to get answers. The following are some of the commonly used methods in gathering data:

· Interview

This method encourages each respondent to answer questions exhaustively, thus ensuring the accuracy of the training needs analysis. However, conducting interviews entails a lot of workforce, resources and time.



· Be careful not to raise expectations. Inform the community what the data is for.

· Learn how to handle distractions during interview. In some cases, non-interviewees may linger around or butt into conversations If necessary, move to a more private place.

· Group discussion/workshop

Aside from being an effective method in bringing out needed data, the group discussion helps build rapport among participants and facilitators before the actual training. For the facilitator, this is an opportunity to get to know the participants - who among them are outspoken and who needs more encouragement. This familiarity with participants allows the facilitator to handle the exchanges during training more effectively.

One limitation of this method is the additional time and resource in gathering all the participants in one venue.


· Filling up TNA questionnaires

Sending out questionnaires is probably the simplest and the fastest method for gathering data from the participants. However, great care is needed in formulating appropriate questions.


Common problems in using questionnaires are:

· inadequate or at times wrong answers given to the questions being asked;
· not many people are returning the questionnaires;
· unsuitable for people with limited literacy.

3. Analyzing the participants' training needs

The final step in training needs assessment is the collation, documentation and analysis of the data gathered. The result determines what specific topics you should give special attention to, what dialect or language should be used, what and how many visual aids are needed, how long each session should last, etc. In short, the result of the TNA will determine how the training will be handled - both in content and process.

One of the simplest tools for collating TNA results is to use a matrix or table (see example at the end of this activity sheet).

You can also use a descriptive way of collating TNA results by looking for common themes in the responses and using these to generate topics for the training. Some guide questions are the following:

· What are the common experiences of the participants?

· What issues or themes do they want to study?

· Why pursue such topics, how do they relate to what participants are doing?

· How do participants perceive issues or concerns? What possible frameworks do they have and want to enrich?

· What activities would help them reflect individually? together?

· What atmosphere inhibits them from speaking or sharing their thoughts?

How people learn

If we listen 10 the information, we re member only 20% of what we hear.


If we only look at information, we remember about 30%.


It we combine listening and looking, we remember about 50%


If we also talk what we hear and read, then we remember 70%


But, best of all if we also use what we learned, then we remember 90% of it.


The TNA can generate topics that people will be motivated to learn about and apply in their everyday life. Discussing themes far from participant's realities can give information but may not enhance what they are doing. Such trainings may end up as a waste of scarce resources.

Likewise, the TNA gives hints on appropriate training approaches and methods for a particular set of participants. Participants have different learning styles. Choose creative methods that are enjoyable, participatory and more importantly, able to provoke critical thinking.

After the TNA has been collated, analyzed and documented, make a system of filing or storing the data so that when it is needed in the future, it is readily available.


TNA TABULATION of a few participants' responses to a community popular education training-workshop held in Cavite, Philippines.

Name of participant and personal background

Economic issues in the community and how s/he engages in such activities

Political issues in the community and his/her involvement

Appreciation of community cultural beliefs and systems and own perceptions

Suggestions for effective training (factors that will encourage participation)


Community health worker, high school graduate, 28 yrs old....

Malnutrition due to poverty

Inefficiency of government units in extending health services

Bahala na (come-what-may) attitude of both families and government worsens the problem

Approachable facilitators and co-participants

Workshops and direct to the point lectures


Fisherfolk, elementary graduate, 50 yrs old...

Illegal fishing due to dwindling catch

Corruption of law enforcers

Filipinos tend to use "palakasan" (patronage) and bribery to skirt around the law.

Action songs, discussion and lectures


Community health worker, high school graduate, 45 yrs old...

Need for post-harvest fishing facilities to provide more income

Lack of infrastructures and projects due to diversion of government funds

Lack of dedication and service in government

Any method that will not make us sleepy.

Friendly trainers and "classmates"