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Mastering the Instructional Design Process by Stephen B. King, Marsha King, Bud Benscoter, William J. Rothwell

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Chapter TwoConducting a Needs Assessment

In this chapter, we define terms associated with needs assessment, describe how to distinguish between a learning and a performance problem, describe essential steps in developing needs assessment plans, review typical problems likely to arise during needs assessment, suggest ways of overcoming these problems, explain how to identify instructional and noninstructional problems based on needs assessment results, identify approaches to estimating costs and benefits of possible solutions, describe the preparation and dissemination of a needs assessment report, provide a simple case study highlighting important issues in needs assessment, offer advice on judging and justifying needs assessment, address key ethical and cross-cultural issues in conducting needs assessment, and review recent developments in needs assessment.

According to The Standards (Koszalka, Russ-Eft, and Reiser 2013, 24–30), one competency for instructional design is to “conduct a needs assessment in order to recommend appropriate design solutions and strategies.” It is an advanced competency. The performance statements associated with this competency indicate that instructional designers should be able to: “(a) identify varying perceptions of need among stakeholders and the implications of those perceptions (advanced); (b) describe the nature of a learning or performance problem (essential); (c) determine the root causes of identified discrepancies (advanced); (d) synthesize ...

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