Dec 07 2011

Conducting an ID Needs Assessment

Posted at 11:53 pm under Instructional Design

Conducting a needs assessment is an important element in Instructional Design. Morrison, Ross Kalman & Kemp (2011) explain that “a needs assesment is used to identify gaps in performance and then determine whether the gaps are worth addressing through an intervention” (p. 32). In my opinion, the needs assessments acts as a formative assessment which helps to improve the quality of instruction. There are also some cases where there are no existing instructional elements  in place. In those cases, the needs assessment would highlight valuable elements that need to be included into the design of the new instruction.

Conducting a needs assessment when designing instruction can increase productivity of employees. It is important to identify the needs so that the solution designed for intervention addresses the root of this issue as opposed  to just the addressing the symptoms (Morrison et al., 2011).

A thorough needs assessments consists of planning, collecting data, data analysis, and final report (Morrison et al., 2011).

Within distributed learning a needs assessment is an important step to creating a learning environment that is engaging; and encourages synchronous and asynchronous learning. Simonson, Smaldino, Albright & Zvacek (2011) explain that “one key to effective distance education is correct instructional design” (p. 171). A needs assessment can highlight some of the unique needs and characteristics of learners in the distributed learning environment.

Do you think that a needs assessment is essential to effective instructional design?


Morrison,G., Ross, S., Kemp, .J. (2011). Designing effective instruction. (6th Edition). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2011). Instructional Design and Distance Education. Teaching and Learning at a Distance: Foundations of Distance Education (5th Ed.) Allyn and Bacon. Pearson.

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