Needs assessment is a systematic process for determining and addressing needs, or "gaps" between current conditions and desired conditions or "wants". The discrepancy between the current condition and wanted condition must be measured to appropriately identify the need. The need can be a desire to improve current performance or to correct a deficiency.
A needs assessment is an important part of the planning process, often used for improvement in individuals, education/training, organizations, or communities… It can be an effective tool to clarify problems and identify appropriate interventions or solutions… Gathering appropriate and sufficient data informs the process of developing an effective program that will address the target audiences needs and wants.
Needs assessment data, whether obtained by conducting a survey, developing a matrix, or researching electronic resources, etc, will provide planners with an insight into the underlying gaps in professional practice. A needs assessment can assist in:
- Identifying the educational needs, professional practice gaps, and or barriers to care of your target audience,
- Sharpening a program's priority-based strategic improvement plan, and
- Refining learning objectives that are specific to the goals of an activity.