Continuing Education for Health Promotion: A Case Study of Needs Assessment Practice

  • Scott McLean University of Saskatchewan
  • Lori S. Ebbesen Saskatchewan Heart Health Program
  • Kathryn Green University of Saskatchewan
  • Bruce Reeder University of Saskatchewan
  • David Butler-Jones Saskatchewan Health
  • Sheilagh Steer Heart and Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan


In recent years, both practical barriers and conceptual problems have been identified concerning needs assessment work in adult and continuing education. This article provides an empirical study of needs assessment research that was conducted to support university-based continuing education programming in the field of health promotion in Saskatchewan. We describe the context of the Saskatchewan Heart Health Program (SHHP), narrate the development, findings, and outcomes of a significant needs assessment process, and identify implications of our work for other university continuing educators. Although formal needs assessment practices such as those described in this article may not always be appropriate for university continuing educators, they can be beneficial to marketing and pedagogical efforts. The SHHP needs assessment process encouraged our learners to actively and collectively reflect upon their learning priorities, increased their receptivity to our continuing education efforts, and provided us with an opportunity to role model a collaborative approach to health promotion program development.