Needs assessment questions

Skills and knowledge


  • Define goals

  • Identify problem/need

  • Identify key performance indicators

  • Identify impact of gaps in knowledge and skills on performance/ KPIs

  • Identify additional factors affecting performance 

  • Define success 


What do learners need to know? What do they already know?

Can you give examples of how the knowledge/skill gap affected dept, org or customer satisfaction goals?

What is the attitude toward: 

  • the current training program?

  • change?

  • current & new system, process or technology?

If this project is successful, what will learners/target audience do differently? 

If their performance improves, what business goals or KPIs would improve as well? 

Performance problem


  • Define the problem

  • Identify key performance indicators

  • Determine how important it is to find the problem

  • Determine if the problem is worth the cost and effort  to fix it

  • Determine the causes of the problem to determine

  • Determine if training is an effective solution or if other interventions may be more appropriate.

What is the need/issue/problem/gap being addressed?

How long have these issues existed?

How has workplace productivity been affected by lack of knowledge and skills?

Can you give examples of how the knowledge/skill gap affected dept, org or customer satisfaction goals?

What organizational factors may support or hinder performance?

Any other barriers that if removed, would help improve performance?

If the intervention is successful, what will be the desired outcome?

What has been tried in the past? How did it work?

What are the consequences of not addressing these issues?

What business processes are affected? What's the scope of the problem? Who is affected?

Why must this need/issue/problem/gap be addressed now?

What is the cost of the problem in terms of dollars, turnover, customer satisfaction and morale?

What are the causes of the needs/issue/problem that's being addresses?

What is the projected benefit to bottom line result based on expected outcomes?

Do we want to resolve this issue or do you see this as an ongoing issue that must to be managed?

What has/is/could prevent these goals from being achieved?

What is the ideal timeline to assess the needs for these issues?

Budget and timelines


  • Identify resources

  • Identify project deadline

  • Understand what's the cause of the timeline

  • Identify deadline for completing needs assessment


What is the budget for the assessment and any intervention designed and developed?

What is the deadlines to complete the assessment and design/develop interventions? What is the projected timeline for implementing the solutions?

How flexible is the timeline for the target audience to complete the intervention?

Will implementation be staggered or is this a one-time launch?

Does the budget include internal resources, vendors and software?

How much time is available to complete the deliver of the intervention?

How much time can we get with learners? (10 minutes, 1 hour, 2 days?)

Is the timeline for this project based on implementation of another initiative?

What is the frequency of this intervention (one time, once a month, once a year?)


Stakeholders, influencers and team members


  • Identify stakeholders

  • Identify team members

  • Identify influencers

Who is sponsoring the project?

Is the approval of SMEs  required or recommended for the intervention before it's delivered to learners?

Before we develop an intervention, is approval needed, recommended or required from  compliance, legal, editorial, marketing, media or publishing?

Who will have final sign off authority on the intervention?

Is there management buy-in and support for the assessment of the need and design/development of the intervention?

Who are the subject matter experts and what is their area of expertise? Will I be working with SME or their assistant?

What other departments or teams should be consulted for analysis or design/development?

Who else might influence or inform the project? Who should be invited to kick-off meeting

What is the most convenient time for speaking to SME? Will any organization factors make it difficult to reach SMEs?




  • Identify the target audience(s) for an intervention

  • Identify demographic information about the target audience

  • Identify the audience(s)'s learning needs and obstacles  

  • Identify prior knowledge for the intervention

  • Determine if certification is required

  • Helps training professionals select an appropriate format and medium of delivery

What are characteristics of the target audience (age, education, learning preferences, motivation, and computer literacy)?

Has the target audience received prior training in this area? What type? 

Will certification be required?

What is the size of the target audience by position, geographic location, priority and so forth.

What are prerequisites for this program?

Who are the internal and external customers of the target audience?


Job and task analysis


  • Identify skills, experience and knowledge that should be included on job profile

  • Identify what skills and knowledge that should be included in a training intervention

  • Identify skills needed to use new system or tech or to assume additional or different job responsibilities

What are five main responsiblies of your job? List the aproximate percentage of time you spend on each responsibility.

What are the critical success factors for effective performace in your job?

What are the most difficult aspects of your job?

What prior training have you received, including in previous jobs?

What knowledge and skills do you require to be successful in your job?

What are the main barriers to success?

What should the training priorities for your job function be?

What are your preferred learning styles (self-paced, computer-based, classroom)?


List all your major responsibilities. Then prioritize each item by assigning a number to it.  For example assign "1" to the most important item.

What equipment and tools do you use in your job?

What knowledge do you require to perform your job successfully?

What prior knowledge, skills and abilities did you bring to your position that helped to make you successful in your role?

Describe any other contributing factors you feel have made your successful in your job.

Why are these responsibilities important to your job?

Describe some specific duties or tasks that you perform? List the approximate percentage of time you spend on each one.

What qualities are necessary to make you successful in your job?

List any courses, workshop or training programs that helped you succeed in your job.




  • Distinguish average from exemplary performance

  • Identify predictors of job performance for hiring/development efforts

  • Clarify job expectations 

  • Define career path

What are your five main responsibilities Then prioritize each item. For example assign "1" to the most important responsibility.

Now think of a specific time when you or someone else experience success in your role. What was the context? When did it happen? Who was involved? What did you think or feel? What did you say? Why was this effective? What were the results?

For your [#] responsibility, what skills and abilites do you need?

Now think of a specific time when you or someone else experienced failure in your role. What was the context? When did it happen? Who was involved? What did you think or feel? What did you say? Why was this effective? What were the results?



What is the sequences of activities that must be performed to complete this process?

How much time does it take to perform each activity or step.

Where do internal inputs come from?

Where do the outputs go?

Who performs each activity?

What are the external inputs?

What are the outputs?


Do performers have sufficient reliable information? Are performers clear on what they are supposed to be doing? 

How do performers receive positive feedback on performance? How frequently?What is the consequence of positive reviews?

Are the financial and non-financial incentives adequate and based on performance? Are rewards regarded as fair?

Are performers a good all around fit for the job?

How do performers receive negative feedback on performance? How frequently? What is the consequence of negative reviews?

Does the individual have all the resources needed to perform the work?

Is lack of knowledge/skill contributing to the problem?

How do performers feel about the process? Timelines? Task at hand?