What’s a learning needs analysis (LNA) and why it's important

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How many times have you heard about the importance of training and development, but you don’t know exactly what it entails? More importantly, do you know how to measure your training program’s effectiveness or even if there are ways to measure your program’s effectiveness?

Whether you are developing a corporate training program, or planning a new course for your team, in order to create an effective training program, you need to know what your learners need to learn, why they need to learn it, and how they can best learn it. Luckily, there’s a simple process called learning needs analysis (LNA) that can help you determine all of these elements.

This article will discuss what an LNA is and the key factors you need to be aware before starting to design a training program.

 

What’s a learning needs analysis?

An LNA is a systematic way of analyzing the gap between business goals and current performance. When you understand that, you can decide which learning solution best plugs that gap. LNAs help you review existing performance data, decide which learning solution is the best fit, set goals, and prepare for post-project evaluation.

 

Why is learning needs analysis essential to building successful training programs?

Solve the problem first time

Hastily designed training often leads to poor results. LNA uncovers the real issue so you can design a learning solution that solves the problem.

Learning is an investment, make sure you get that ROI

Designing a learning solution takes time, money, and resources. A thorough analysis of the problem allows you to measure the success, which means that you can get buy-in from stakeholders and prove you did a good job.

High performing teams are happier teams

Thorough learning needs analysis means successful training programs which empower your people to perform as well as they can.

 

Tips for getting your learning needs analysis right

Write a problem statement and get everyone’s agreement

Not everyone sees issues in the same way. Determine your reason for doing an LNA. Is it for compliance? To design or redesign training? Or, to solve some training challenge? Once you know why you’re conducting an LNA, it will be easier to determine what areas of learning need to be examined. Don't forget to gather current data on performance and compare it to business goals. This will help you create project goals and evaluation markers.

Training is not always the answer

Let’s imagine a task that has 250 input codes, and the team often use the wrong code. Training is unlikely to help – it’s hard to remember that many codes. In this case, a job aid sounds like the right solution.

Know your learners

If you’ve decided training is the right option, make sure it fits with your learners. Get their opinions in interviews and focus groups so you understand how training can benefit them. What roles they have? Why aren’t they hitting targets? Which languages do they speak? Do they have time to set aside for learning?

 

Final word on learning needs analyses

Learning needs analysis can be a daunting task, especially when you’re under pressure to get it done quickly. We’ve created a 5-minute guide to help you complete a great learning needs analysis. Follow this guide and you will know what to include in your analysis, tips on getting it right, and ways to convince stakeholders that your solution is the right one.

 


 

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