Here’s How to Avoid Needs Analysis Paralysis – Interesting Post

Tom Kuhlmann has a really good post in his blog where he has put together some good points about Needs Analysis in e-learning.

I totally agree with Tom when he says create courses where the content is real to the learners.

But how do we create such courses when you do not get a chance to interact with the learners directly?.

In my career as an Instructional Designer, I have never got a chance to talk to the learners. I have always started work with some basic details about the learners . I have always assumed the learners’ needs. Even after the course was delivered to the learners, I never knew if they found it useful or was it just trash for them.

I have never seen any pilot teams who navigate the content and give you insight into how to make it relevant.

I liked Tom’s idea of setting up a pilot team who would provide some insights on the course. I wish more organizations encourage this.
I also like his idea of creating rapid prototypes of the e-learning course and shipping it to the learners. This way the pilot team and of course the client gets to see how the course would shape up. There is so much of scope for refinement and improvement this way.

I think surveys would do a good job when you do not get to meet your learners directly.

Needs Analysis in most organizations is just a formality. Needs Analysis must be done to create better and useful courses.

I guess lots of discussions and brainstorming must happen with the clients and among instructional designers before the course design is actually finalized. A lot of initiative must be taken to touch base with the learners or someone who represents the learners.


4 Responses

  1. I think I’m pretty fortunate because we do run pilots/field tests with actual students for each of our courses. The feedback is all filtered through the instructor, rather than coming directly from the students, but we definitely hear how it’s actually going. It can be a lot of work to manage it all, but the feedback has been so valuable. I think it’s easier to get that feedback in an online university setting than with self-paced e-learning though, especially since all the students for our courses are also teachers. Classroom teachers are much more likely to give a lot of feedback and to recognize the pedagogy than regular learners.

  2. Thanks for the information Christy. I appreciate this 🙂

  3. Hi Rupa,

    My organization, Kern Communications is an eLearning company. We firmly believe that courses created without interacting with actual learners will not meet the desired objectives. We ensure that we either meet or have a detailed interview with 8-10 learners before we decide the instructional strategy for the course. And many times, we also revise the course objectives because the learner needs are different from the ones stated by management. This learner analysis has proved to be a valuable contributor to our courses. Do check out


  4. Thanks for the info Rashmi 🙂

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