Following the completion of my Needs Analysis, I was able to have some of my peers review my process and design, and provide constructive feedback. Designing a Needs Analysis is a very important task however it can be tricky. Deciding on how to extract the needs of the participants and organization that you are designing instruction for is one of the most important processes and you have little to go on initially. A thorough understanding of the organization and their goals and objectives is important. It is also important to give a platform for free response when surveying to not confine the responses of your target group. This step of Instructional Design process is fundamental in designing appropriate Instruction and all subsequent decisions take this into account.
My Needs Analysis was conducted on Google Forms and incorporated a short response, multiple choice and multiple answer question types. Additionally, follow up one to ones was utilized to explore further areas of interest. I noted that this was something that all of my peers observed and commended. As my friend Tara said, “This offers great variety and gives you objective data needed for your baseline results”. She also added that taking my audiences opinions and feelings into account was a very important aspect at designing instruction they can resonate with. Her primary recommendation was to further develop a proposal at the conclusion of my Needs Analysis whereby I explicitly express the prevalent needs I have determined. That is to say that even if I had ideas and deductions, I realized how important it is for one to clearly identify the problem as it is the first step at finding an appropriate response.
Another friend, Paulina mentioned something very interesting that I overlooked! I was so focused on the opinions and feelings of my audience to make the lesson attractive and beneficial I forgot to assess some basic information like gender, age and years of experience teaching. These trivial facts about your learners are very important, especially if you notice your audience share certain characteristics, because you can modify your lessons to resonate more with the specific group and their learning preferences. Furthermore, I could use this information when creating groups for collaboration during my seminar.
Receiving feedback from my peers was an invaluable experience whereby I learned what went right and what I may have missed and could include in future Needs Assessments. Your product is a direct result of your Needs Analysis and if that is not designed comprehensively then you may be designing instruction that is not completely relevant. All my peers stated that creating a variety of questions styles and extracting the opinions and feelings of my audience was the most notable feature of my Needs Analysis. They also mentioned that my decision to explore the implementation and use of Canvas at Passaic County Technical Institute was a very good area to explore as the appropriate use of technology in schools is something that all 21st Century Schools are working towards and teachers are often in need of effective professional development to compliment the newly purchased technological resources. Google Forms was a great medium for extracting a great amount of information from multiple participants via their emails which I would definitely recommend and utilize again in the future. Overall, my Needs Analysis provided enough information to help me proceed in the right direction towards designing quality professional development and I am excited to continue my journey of Instructional Design.