Examining the Situation: Needs, Task, and Learner Analysis

For your course project, analyze the training need, the tasks you will be training on, and your learners. Specifically, in a minimum of 6 pages:

Make a final decision on the content or skills to train your learners on. Choose a subject that will allow you to gauge their performance before and after the training you have completed. Why does this training need to be done? What are the benefits and consequences for conducting the training?
Identify the specific tasks you want learners to learn. The lecture and your reading define task analysis and illustrates possible methods you can use. Take your knowledge and build your own method. Be sure to have confidence and write as if you are the expert here.
Based on the training group you chose, make general assumptions about the learning capabilities of your members. What are their current skills and capabilities concerning the content they need to learn? What do they still need to learn? What is their attitude toward this content? Does their attitude need to be changed in any way? What are the learning styles that you will have to address? Is there a predominant learning style?


Module 02 – Examining the Situation: Needs, Task, and Learner Analysis

Training is a very important part of individual and organizational success. Both parties understand the importance and can benefit from the training. However, training can be an expense for the individual and the company. With limited financial resources both parties must assess what skills need to be learned and how the new skills will benefit them.
Needs Analysis

Whether to change attitudes, increase knowledge, or gain skills, training is meant to improve the overall results for the organization conducting the training.

The instructional designer comes in to determine the necessary training that serves two parties: the organization, and the learner. An instructional designer uses a process called needs analysis to get at the source of the problem or opportunity.

A needs analysis is the study undertaken to see if there is a problem, find out the root of a problem, and figure out how to resolve it. A needs analysis must find out not only the needs involved in a training program but also why those needs exist. Much training has been conducted without really knowing the “Why?” In other words, the question why something won’t or doesn’t work is just as crucial as what students do or do not know. Knowing the “Why?” then becomes the basis for recommendations for additional training and other supporting material.

Methods for Discovering Training Needs

There are two main methods used to discover training needs: proactive and reactive.

Module 02 – Examining the Situation: Needs, Task, and Learner Analysis

Task Analysis

After the needs analysis is conducted, you will decide the content or the task that needs to be learned, known as a task analysis. A task analysis is a close examination of data gathered on the organization and the learners’ goals. It focuses on a specific job to determine what an employee needs to learn in order to perform the task to the acceptable standards of the organization. The analysis normally begins by observing and interviewing someone who is already performing at acceptable levels. The expert can provide guidance and serve as a model to compare future performances.

The purpose of a task analysis is to determine:

What the learners need to learn and in what order
What the criteria are for successful learning

A task analysis is the foundation to developing your training. Determining the tasks that need to be learned will help you develop the learning objectives and instructional strategies and it will also help you design training evaluation / feedback.

Approaches to Task Analysis

There are many approaches to task analysis, but the following are common characteristics in each.

Module 02 – Examining the Situation: Needs, Task, and Learner Analysis

Learner Analysis

The learner analysis consists of determining the current level of knowledge, skills, or attitude toward the task. Put into other words, this analysis is trying to find out where you should start the training. If you train on what is already learned then you bore the participant and waste time and money. If the training begins before the learner has the prerequisites, much of the training is lost and it too wastes time and money.

During a learner analysis, you examine the learner’s current knowledge, skills, and abilities as a group. How much do your learners already know? What abilities do they already have? You then use the information from the learner analysis to create a course that focuses on your learners’ actual needs. The learner analysis minimizes the risk of making certain assumptions about the current abilities of your audience.
Example of How Learner Analysis Works

Imagine that you are creating new-hire training for dental hygienists. You spend weeks designing and developing a course that covers the following topics:

How to prepare the patient for the procedure
How to operate the brushing tool
How to apply the cleaning agent
How to floss
How to scrape off the tartar in between teeth
How to offer advice to the patience

On the first day of class, a large portion of the class asks, “How do we apply the anesthetic?” In this example, assumed that all of the learners would know there is no need for applying anesthetic. Because that assumption wasn’t accurate, the course leaves a key learning issue unaddressed. The training would need to be redesigned to fit the company’s hiring practices.

Module 02 – Examining the Situation: Needs, Task, and Learner Analysis

Learning styles are based on the concept that individuals process and learn information in different ways.

There are four basic learning styles.

It can be argued that we all learn through all of these styles. But often one style is dominant in an individual, and if instruction is matched to an individual’s learning style, he or she will probably learn better and more easily. For example, a person who is a visual learner will learn more effectively if there are images and video rather than just text. A kinesthetic learner process information better if he or she is involved through activities or role playing.

An entire group or occupation can have a dominant learning style. For example, many doctors and nurses learn best through visuals. Writers often learn best by reading.

How do you learn best? Does your workplace have a predominant learning style?

Additional Resources:

MINDRUM, C. (2010). Learning Styles: Threat or Opportunity?. Chief Learning Officer, 9(6), 26-31. Link to article.

Berings, M. C., Poell, R. F., & Simons, P. R. (2008). Dimensions of On-the-Job Learning Styles. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 57(3), 417-440. doi:10.1111/j.1464-0597.2008.00362.x. Link to article.


Noe, R. (01/2016). Employee Training & Development, 7th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://ambassadored.vitalsource.com/#/books/1260058468/

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