The Power of a Quality Needs Assessment to Develop Curricula


This round table session will highlight the usefulness and power that a quality needs assessment provides for the successful development and implementation of a curriculum.

Education relies on both new curriculum creation as well as continual updates to existing curriculum to fill knowledge gaps for learners. But how should educators go about identifying training needs? A robust and structured approach is to perform a needs assessment: a formal process of gathering and analyzing data to understand specific learning needs. This initial process is essential to systematically determine what will best suit the learning needs and styles of learners.

Kern’s 6 steps of curriculum development is the framework we will use to help identify and discuss the stages of a needs assessment: (1) problem identification, (2) general assessment, and (3) targeted assessment. These steps guide the educator through essential processes including: investigating and clearly defining the problem, accounting for multiple perspectives of the various stakeholders, analyzing the current practice and its shortcomings, understanding the goals and attitudes of learners, and considering the available resources and/or anticipating potential barriers to success.

Most educators understand the importance of needs assessments; however, they often struggle with the concrete steps necessary to perform one methodically. This roundtable aims to 1) discuss the importance of adequately defining the problem or knowledge gap, 2) discuss the importance of involving all stakeholders, and 3) discuss how choosing the correct method to assess the identified gap (focus groups, interviews, direct observation, surveys, etc.) will provide valuable data for the needs assessment. Lastly, the session will discuss common barriers educators face when implementing a needs assessment.

Author Information
Heather Newton, Eastern Virginia Medical School, United States
LaConda Fanning, Eastern Virginia Medical School, United States
Agatha Parks-Savage, Eastern Virginia Medical School, United States
Cory Gerwe, Eastern Virginia Medical School, United States

Paper Information
Conference: IICE2024
Stream: Curriculum Design & Development

The full paper is not available for this title

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon