A Comparison of Two Methods of Needs Assessment: Implications for Continuing Professional Education
AbstractNeeds identification is an important component of program planning in continuing professional education. Learners, professional associations, and society all have a stake in ensuring that programs are relevant and focused on important educational needs of professionals. This study compared two different methods of identifying learning needs--perceived needs and knowledge-based needs--for a group of practicing pharmacists (N= 113). The Canadian Consensus Asthma Management Guidelines (1996) provided the framework for the needs assessments and the standard against which pharmacists' knowledge of asthma treatment was assessed. Using data collected via a questionnaire, rank correlation tests showed no relationship between perceived needs and knowledge-based needs. While there was correspondence between the two methods on a few items, overall they did not identify the same needs. This confirmed the results of other research that there are some educational needs of which learners are unaware. Even with the limitations of perceived needs, few continuing professional educators would advocate abandoning this method, although most advocate a combination of methods. The following article discusses the implications of these and other research findings, and current literature on needs assessment in continuing professional education. Many questions remain, however, and there is a need for more research on needs assessment in continuing professional education.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).