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Training need analyses

Training life cycle

The Training Need Analyses step is the most important and the most difficult step in the training life cycle. Demand and supply, that's the question. Usually a participant does not know exactly where he lacks in knowledge!

World Water Academy works according to the Instructional Systems Design model (see right) to build and deliver an applicable and practical programme. The Instructional Systems Design model consists of the following steps


The Analyse step defines the set of Knowledge, skills and attitude (K+S+A) of the different competences needed by the target group.


The Design step creates the outline of the full programme. The programme is devided in modules. The modules will be built like lego-blocks: combining modules to a full programme. A module combines contents, teaching methods, work practise, assignment etc..


The Development step creates the modules with theory, practical assignments, exams (by walking around), presentations, role play, cases etc..


The Implementation step is the roll out of the programme. Each participant will be tested at the start of the learning trajectory to define his/her knowledge and talents. The trainers for the class-based modules will be experienced professionals or professors. They will be trained as a trainer and prepared to the deliver the programme and coach the participants.


The satisfaction of the participants as well as the effectivity of the learning trajectory will be monitored. The results of the monitoring will be used to adapt the programme.


The training need analyses can be conducted in two ways: by doing a needs assessment or by doing a goal analysis.

Needs assessment

The first step in designing a course is a training need assessment. The purpose of the need assessment is to identify needs, or "gaps", between current knowledge and desired or expected knowledge.

The needs assessment is divided into four phases:


decide the target audience and choose who will participate in the needs assessment. Participants can be members of the target audience, managers of the target audience and experienced individuals who were once member of the target audience.

Conduct the data

ask the participants questions, to find out what their needs are. This can be done by interviewing them face-to-face, or by conducting a survey.

Analyze the data

analyze the results from the interviews and/or survey. Prioritize the needs: what needs are frequently mentioned, what is important?

Report the results

finally, write a report concerning the existing needs. In this report it has to be clear which needs exist (in the form of main objectives) for the development of the course.

Goal analysis

A goal analysis starts with an identified problem (contrary to the needs assessment, where you have to find out what the problem is). The data are conducted from a small group of experts who are familiar with this problem. With this group you state several goals. You can use this method if you are certain that the problem exists and is legitimate.

A goal analysis is divided into three phases:

Identify an aim

use a group familiar with the problem, determine one or more aims. An aim is a general intent that gives direction.

Set goals

let the experts set goals for each aim. These goals should identify behaviors that describe the learner performances.

Rank the goals

ranking can be by order of importance, items most likely to cause problems if ignored, or other relevant criteria.