The Rapid Elearning Blog

We’ve all heard about analysis paralysis where we spend a lot of time collecting data and then worry so much about how to interpret it (or building the right course) that we never get anything done.

I’ve worked on plenty of training projects where that was the case. It was frustrating for the customers, as well as the training team.

Here are a few ideas to help in the analysis and getting things done at the speed of business.

Focus on Relevant Content

Training exists for a purpose. It’s a solution for something. Be sure to keep your eyes on the right goals and objectives. Build training relevant to real needs. Get out of your cubicle and meet potential learners. Find out how they’d use to content in your course. And then build training around those real-world scenarios.

What about compliance training? It doesn’t always meet relevant needs, but it’s important to the organization.

True. Odds are you don’t need to do a needs analysis for compliance training.

Create a Pilot Team to Help

If you can’t get out of your cubicle and go onsite, assemble a team from a pool of your learning audience. They’ll help you see the content from different perspectives. You don’t need a big team. It could be just a couple of people.

If you can’t build a formal pilot team, at a minimum you can send out a survey to collect information and feedback. There are all sorts of free and inexpensive survey tools out there. I like to use Google Forms and SurveyMonkey.

Build Proof of Concept Courses

The nice thing about today’s e-learning tools like Storyline and Rise is that you can quickly prototype your courses and build interactive learning experiences. Then roll them out to test and get feedback. You can send them out to subject matter experts and your pool of learners. Sometimes things missed in the analysis present themselves when used in real life.

I like to use Review to get the courses out there for feedback and then manage it all in one place. That type of simplicity wasn’t available a few years ago.

Who Needs a Needs Analysis?

This may be sacrilegious to some of you, but skip the analysis. Between your customer’s insight and your training instincts, odds are that you’ll be fine without investing a lot of time doing detailed needs analysis.

Now I say this knowing that most of us don’t build overly complicated training. If you work for NASA or are in an industry where the training has life or death consequences than make sure to do a proper analysis so that you get things right. But the reality is that most training needs exist because the client or someone has already identified it. In those case, a needs analysis is probably less critical.

I’m curious, what type of needs analysis do you do when asked to build training? Are there times where you skip it?


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2 responses to “4 Ways to Quickly Do a Needs Analysis for Your E-Learning”

July 23rd, 2019

I have recently been asked to build elearning courses due to new processes set in place. The PowerPoints were already done and being used, but when I received them, the presentations were more about change management than training. I do an analysis every time because clients consistently mistake a presentation agenda for a set of learning objectives. Compliance training frequently falls in this bucket. It can take quite some persuasion to get them to talk about what tasks the learner needs to do – focus on the future rather than what’s different from the past.

July 23rd, 2019

I don’t skip the need analysis even if the objective is pretty straight and the content is simple enough for training. The reason being doing a need analysis helps me understand the existing methods used to address the training requirement and why they have not been successful, the problems that are being addressed, performance mistakes that learners often do, the context in which the learner will use this training and what would be the outcome if they fail to perform. These questions provide me guidance on the need and help me design the course to address these needs.I can avoid the mistakes that have been made and proved to be unsuccessful and turn towards a new approach with a better understanding on the need and the expected outcome of the training.