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How to Analyse learning Needs: Free Template

Want to improve employee efficiency and performance? Conducting a comprehensive training needs analysis might be your answer.
Training needs analysis is a key tool in the arsenal of any L&D professional, trainer, or training consultant. It’s effective in determining learning and development areas you need to focus on to address performance gaps that get in the way of achieving organizational goals.

What is a training needs analysis?

Training needs analysis (TNA) is a process to identify the gap between the actual and the desired knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) in a job.

KSA refer to the knowledge, skills, and abilities that an employee must have to perform their responsibilities within their roles. They’re listed in the job description and guide candidates and employers to assess the person’s chance to succeed.
The need for such analysis usually arises due to an organizational problem. It can be a lower-than-expected quarter for the sales team, changing technology threatening to impact the continuity of train operators, or constantly low customer satisfaction scores forcing the product team to be more agile and customer-focused. In all these instances, the problems can potentially be resolved through training.
In other words, when a lack of knowledge, skills, or abilities causes the problem, conducting a training needs analysis and subsequent training can be a viable solution.
Conversely, training needs analysis won’t be effective if it’s broader organizational issues that cause the problems. This may mean that instead of a lack of knowledge, skills, or abilities, our diagnosis may point out that sales are low because of a mismatch between the work and the rewards. Or that customer satisfaction is low because the top-down driven product strategy is not in line with what customers are looking for.

Training needs analysis levels

There are three levels of training needs analysis based on your organization’s goals and the knowledge and skills required for goals at each level:
  • Organizational level TNA – It determines training needs related to performance metrics, new employee knowledge at the company-wide level, and continuous training to optimize company performance and productivity to achieve its goals. It’s designed to address problems and weaknesses of the organization as well as to further improve the company’s current competencies and strengths. More importantly, it takes into account other factors like trends and changes in the economy, politics, technology, and demographics.
  • Group/job role level TNA – This type of analysis identifies specific training needed to upskill a team, department, or business unit. Moreover, it determines which occupational groups experience skills gaps or discrepancies and ways to eliminate them.
  • Individual level TNA – This training needs assessment is dedicated to an individual or individuals in a team. It is conducted in conjunction with a project or changes that could impact each team member. It is also used for an employee’s personal development for future career advancement.
  • Develop training
Remember to consider non-training alternatives that can help develop the required knowledge and skills. It can be the inclusion of these core competencies in the performance management review and praising and rewarding the defined behavior. Or you can also add them as selection criteria in the hiring process. All these interventions will help build and reinforce the knowledge and skills.

The training phase is where you can apply the ADDIE model. The ADDIE model is arguably the best-known model of training design. ADDIE is an acronym for Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate. Good training design involves going through all five stages.

Training needs analysis best practices

  • Start with the desired outcome
The best approach is to break the organizational goal down into a department or individual goal, or focus on core competencies.
  • Manage expectations
The next step is defining the appropriate job behaviors that will build this competency to help achieve the organizational goal.
The following step is breaking down these high-over behaviors into the skills and knowledge required to show this behavior effectively.
  • Use an integrated approach
The relationship-building and commercial behaviors we have defined earlier need to be specified before we can move on to a training program. The more specific we can make these behaviors, the easier it will be to create training programs that fulfill these behavioral dimensions.
The last step is to assess the current skills in the organization. Not everyone will need the same training. For example, the partners in the consulting firm already have extensive sales experience – they will not benefit from this training. A senior staff member will require different training than an associate or a junior. All these details must be considered before moving to the next stage.

Training needs analysis techniques

You can apply different training needs analysis techniques to map the required and available skills. Some common techniques include:
  • Observations: Directly watching employees perform their duties to identify skills they possess, as well as gaps and areas for improvement.
  • Questionnaires: Distributing structured surveys to employees to gather insights about their skills, perceived training needs and areas of interest.
  • Interviews: Conducting one-on-one or group discussions with employees to explore their training needs, challenges, and suggestions for development opportunities.
  • Assessments: Utilizing tests or simulations to evaluate employees’ current skill levels and identify specific areas where training is needed.
  • Skills audits and skills inventories: Conducting comprehensive reviews of the skills and qualifications currently available within the organization to identify strengths, gaps, and areas for development, and inventorizing the data.
  • Employee development plans: Identifying groups of employees with similar KSA.
  • HRIS data mining and text mining CVs: Applying data and text mining techniques to HRIS data, resumes and CVs to uncover patterns, trends, and gaps in the workforce’s skills and qualifications.
  • Text mining of job descriptions or job vacancy texts: Determining required competency levels per function.
  • Job analysis: Breaking down jobs into their component tasks and determining the necessary skills and knowledge for each task.

Training needs analysis template

Get our free training needs analysis template to conduct effective analyses at your organization:
To learn more about how to conduct a training needs analysis and integrate it into your people development efforts, check out our full program for the Effective Employee Training in the Company course.

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