Needs Assessment for Learning and Performance


Needs Assessment for Learning and Performance emphasized how the differences of what should be done, the optimals, versus what is actually done, the actuals, can impact performance and learning. My project analyzed these difference with the use of a curriculum mapping software program at an area charter school.


Needs Assessment – Atlas Curriculum Mapping


In the first step of conducting this needs assessment, I interviewed the administrators to determine what was expected of the teachers’ use of the Atlas software. Additionally, the purpose of using the Atlas software in the teachers’ lesson planning was discussed. The adminstrators’ perceptions regarding the training on the use of Atlas was also discussed.

Surveys and interviews were used to collect data on the teachers’ actual use of the Atlas program and to analyze their needs to achieve compliance with the administrators’ expectations was my next step. I used this data to determine the cause of discrepancies. The data indicated I needed to focus solutions on communication, training, and time management.

The purpose of purchasing the Atlas software was already being accomplished using a program that the teachers were familiar using. It occurred to me that a comprehensive needs assessment should have been completed prior to the purchase of the Atlas software. Including the teachers in the assessment of needs would, most likely, promote their adoption of the program.


The final project in this course required a comprehensive application of the skills and concepts of a needs assessment. The project required conducting a performance analysis and interviewing the primary stakeholders to identify the discrepancies between what is optimally expected and what is actually achieved. These “optimals versus actuals” then led to collecting data to determine the cause of these discrepancies. The interpretation of the collected data was then used to suggest solutions. The process of conducting needs assessments promotes effective learning and working environment by developing an understanding of the requirements institutions and industries have of their learners and workforce.

Throughout this process, I kept coming back to the “why” of using needs assessments in learning system design and development. It is not just to assess what is needed, but also to determine what exists. And often, adding a few tweaks to what presently exists can meet the needs of the primary stakeholders, saving everyone time and money.