When you’re developing e-learning courses, one thing you often need to do before you start creating is to complete various types of analyses. There are many different types, but in this short post I will look at three of the most important that should be in your project toolkit:
1: Needs Analysis
In my opinion, this is the most important analysis you will do. You can design the best training in the world, but if it isn’t really needed in the first place, you won’t see much of an impact or improvement in job performance. However, there is one time when you never need a needs analysis: when training is mandated by law. Then, you definitely need to create training!
When you create a needs analysis, you’ll assess the employee’s actual performance (how they are performing right now) and compare it to their expected performance (how they are supposed to be performing). If there is a difference between the two, that’s a performance or knowledge gap that your training can address to improve an employee’s job performance.
Sometimes, as you do a needs analysis, you may find that training’s not the right solution, because the perceived problem is caused by another factor altogether. To learn more about creating a needs analysis, check out this other post I wrote: Needs analysis - when is e-learning the solution?
2: Audience analysis
The audience analysis is a critical task, and one that will impact many decisions throughout the e-learning development process. This analysis should be done after the needs analysis, but before you start developing any content. The outcome of this analysis is a document that identifies who your learners are, their demographics, level of experience, and more. To find out these details about your learners, you will likely need to talk to managers who initiated the project or the organization’s HR department.
The audience analysis is important because knowing your audience will guide the decisions you make when it comes to how and what content to present. Would you design the same e-learning course for a group of tech-savvy 20-to-30-year-old software engineers, versus a group of 45-to-65-year-old factory workers with no technical skills? Probably not. You would take their level of technical knowledge and proficiency into account, and design a course that is appropriate for them. This is why the audience analysis is so critical: when you know as much as you can about them, you can help ensure their success.
3: Task analysis
When you’re designing training, you’re usually looking to improve job performance, or teach someone how to do something. In these situations, it’s important to present your information in terms of action-based behavior, such as tasks.
A task analysis breaks down those tasks and shows learners the steps they need to follow to complete the task successfully. Some tasks are straightforward and follow one set of steps in a sequential order. Other tasks are complex and have various decisions that the learner must make. Regardless of whether the task is simple or complex, the task analysis identifies all of the physical and mental steps learners must go through to complete each identified task.
So those three are, I believe, the most important types of e-learning analyses. Do you think there’s another analysis type that’s as critical to the success of a project? Or do you have any personal experiences with any of the types mentioned above? If so, please leave a comment, we love to hear your feedback.
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