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Assessment of learning needs – stages, importance

Stages of carrying out learning needs assessment

Identifying your learning needs

Stage 1. Making overall learning plan

  • identify weaknesses in knowledge, skills or attitudes
  • describe how you identified your learning needs
  • prioritise and set learning needs and associated goals
  • justify selection of learning goals
  • describe methods for achievement of goals and over what time period
  • describe methods of evaluating learning outcomes.

Stage 2. Using a range of methods to identify your learning needs

Determine your learning needs by:

  • asking patients, users and non-users about your service
  • comparing your performance against best practice
  • asking colleagues from different disciplines about shortfalls in how your work interfaces with theirs.

Stage 3. Creating your goal

  • Changing performance and improving quality can be difficult and education is the key to this.

Stage 4. Setting priorities for what and how you learn

  • Some of the needs in learning plan will be appropriate for the present circumstances, some will be too costly and others too time-consuming.
  • Go through again and select those that have clear aims and objectives, and are achievable within the time and money constraints that you have upon you. Then rank them in the order of priority.
  • You need to set a time span for this activity.

Importance of assessing learners needs

  • There is considerable evidence showing that assessment drives student learning.
  • Assessment tools tell students what is considered to be important. They will learn what we guide them to learn through assessments.
  • Assessment is Feedback for Both Instructors and Students
  • In addition to providing us with valuable information about our students’ learning, assessment should assist our students in diagnosing their own That is, assessment help students “become more effective, self-assessing, self-directed learners.” (Angelo & Cross, 1993)

Need for research into needs assessment

  • What are the effects of and responses to needs assessment alone for students, trainees, and nurses at different stages of education?
  • To what extent do needs assessment methods identify all important learning needs?
  • What are the relative effects and efficacy of identifying group and individual learning needs?
  • What methods of planning effective learning experiences are most effective on the basis of needs identified?

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