TNA Series 4 : SOME METHOD TO COLLECTING DATA

There are some method to collecting data/information in Training Need Analysis (Gupta, 2007) :

  1. Interview

Some people assume that interviews are one of the easiest tools for gathering information about learning and performance needs. A brief discussion with customer service associates could uncover reasons why phone calls are not being handled properly. An in-depth discussion with senior management could clarify perspectives on strategic training issues. However, such interviews can be challenging; a certain amount of knowledge and skill is involved in conducting informative interviews.

Interviews can be conducted in person, by phone, or by computer technology (such as online cameras, videoconferencing, and instant messaging). The greatest benefit of one-on-one, in-person interviews is the human interaction that occurs. In-person interviews allow the interviewer to observe facial expressions and other nonverbal cues from respondents.

2.Focus Group

    In the focus group interview method, people who have something in common are brought together and asked their opinions and ideas about a specific topic. Most focus groups are made up of five to eight people. To be effective, focus groups require skilled facilitators.

    3. Surveys

      Developing good surveys is difficult. Following a systematic process helps to ensure that the objectives and desired results are achieved. The phases involved in surveying needs are as follows:

      • Prepare.

      • Design.

      • Develop questions.

      • Write instructions.

      • Write the cover letter.

      • Pilot-test.

      • Conduct the survey and follow-up.

      4.Observation

        Observation is another method used to collect data during needs assessments. When used systematically, observation can yield meaningful results. Like interview data, observational data can be collected in a structured or unstructured fashion. The time frame for the observation, whether structured or unstructured, is established. With structured observations, decisions as to exactly which factors will be monitored are made prior to the observation. For example, an analyst could use structured observation to monitor the number of employees in a kitchen who wash their hands prior to preparing food. With unstructured observations, the analyst collects information on all aspects of interest in a situation. For example, the analyst could observe the same kitchen to see and record all behaviors of interest.

        5. Documents & Artifacts

          Another vital source of information in needs assessments are the data contained in current and historical documents and other artifacts such as business plans, mission statements, job descriptions, performance reviews, Web sites, training evaluation forms, sales records, customer service call records, personnel records, budgets, and photographs. Such data can be qualitative or quantitative. The benefit of collecting such data is optimized when these data are collected in conjunction with another data-gathering method. Following are a few tips for using data from documents and artifacts:

          • Be clear about the type of information you are seeking before undertaking an extensive search of records.

          • Seek permission prior to using archival or company records.

          • Look for trends and patterns in the data.

          I think there is some more method we can use to gather information in Training Need Analysis. We can use Job Analysis/Task Analysis, Demonstration and Test, or Benchmarking with reference/best practice in the same industry.

          Source : Kavita Gupta, ASTD, 2007

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