Needs Assessment – If not now, when?
Dorte Weber, NorQuest College
This week's guest blog post is by Dorte Weber, this is 1 in a series of 3.
This seems like a great time to look back, take stock, and look forward. Many things have changed, many lessons learned, and so, what does that mean for our programming plans for the next three years? It seems that the start of 2021 would be the ideal time for a needs assessment. Who are your learners right now? Who did you lose when learning had to move online? Who is missing from your classrooms and tutor sessions? Who never came to you in the first place although they may have learning needs? What do community members, employers, schools, community organizations, and others say about adult learning needs in your community right now? A thorough needs assessment can help answer these questions and help you chart your programming plans for the next few years.
Needs assessment can be a daunting task, but there is help. With funding from Advanced Education through the Rural Routes grant, Rural Routes and NorQuest College Research Department recently released a new Data Collection Guide for Communities – essentially a needs assessment how-to. It is an easy read, detailed, full of good advice and common sense. It will help you with the planning, the development of surveys and focus groups, advice on how to find participants and how to get them to participate. There is help with data collection and analysis.
If you haven’t done a needs assessment in a while, what is stopping you? Is it the cost? The shortage of staff to carry it out? Uncertainty on how to get the best results? Let’s start a conversation about the challenges and how to move forward.
What do you think of several communities collaborating to get an in-depth picture of the needs across several communities?
I hope you will comment and contribute your ideas on this topic.
Team Lead, Rural Routes
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