Assessing Community Learning Needs

Accurate information about learning needs is fundamental to developing responsive adult literacy and language programs. A community-wide needs assessment allows for a coordinated, collaborative, and efficient approach to literacy programming.

Assessing Learning Needs: Data Collection Guide for Community Organizations is a guidebook from Norquest College. It is a new tool to help organizations assess the learning needs of adults in their community. The guidebook is designed to support capacity building in community organizations, and to be used as a practical resource for data collection about community learning needs. It does not cover individual learner assessments or organizational training needs.

Who’s this tool for?

Assessing Learning Needs: Data Collection Guide for Community Organizations was developed for community organizations that are involved in adult learning and language training. While it can be used by individual organizations, it’s also useful for multi-stakeholder working groups, such as literacy task groups in BC.

What does it cover?

After a concise introduction to needs assessment, this guidebook covers:

  • planning
  • gathering existing information
  • surveys
  • focus groups
  • recruitment and advertising
  • privacy and confidentiality issues
  • analysing your data
  • turning data into action.

It includes sample survey instruments, recommendations, tips and additional resources about conducting needs assessments.

It makes the point that assessment is not the same as evaluation, although they may overlap.

Note: Based on the findings from a pilot needs assessment project conducted in Alberta in 2020, the provincial resources cited are for Alberta.

Where can I learn more about community needs assessment?

To learn more, look at:

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