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close this bookGuide to Developing Training Strategies (DHA/UNDRO - DMTP - UNDP, 55 p.)
close this folder4. Identifying needs
View the document(introduction...)
View the document4.1 Why do we need to assess needs?
Open this folder and view contents4.2 What do we assess?
View the document4.3 How are needs assessed?
View the document4.4 List of general statements for classifying performance discrepancies
View the document4.5 Other types of needs assessment
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4.3 How are needs assessed?

The level of needs assessment depends on the financial and personnel resources and the availability of time to carry out the task, In formulating a strategy for national training programmes, it is advisable to conduct first a national level evaluation to identify where vital improvements are necessary, followed by an assessment in these priority areas.

In situations where resources are limited to carry out a thorough needs assessment, an individual, or a small group with experience in the field and with a good insider knowledge of the country, organisation or agency can be used to identify the needs. This however, may reduce the sense of ownership, participation and belonging to the programme by the others. The persons who assess or identify the needs may prove to be useful as resource staff within the actual training programme. This is due to the reality that ‘understanding a need is half-way to resolving it’.

The technical process of carrying out a thorough needs assessment can be very complicated. Often, the training process itself is the best medium where organisational, institutional or individual needs are identified. However, a systematic assessment may be required by funders, or, becomes necessary to involve top management and the staff in the idea of training. It will also enable more realistic definition of objectives and programme planning.

For the purpose of this document a complex needs assessment is not considered. There are several books that cover the various techniques that can be employed, Some of these are listed in the bibliography. The following tables, selected and modified from the UNCHS “Manual for Training Needs Assessment in Human Settlements Organisations” provide a simple approach to needs assessment. They should be treated as sample forms to stimulate the design of nationally or institutionally appropriate ones.

Diagram of the Training Needs Assessment Process

The following is a comprehensive and perhaps an idealised approach to needs assessment Other and simpler approaches may also work,