Needs Analysis

Baca Juga

One of the basis assumptions of curriculum development is that a sound educational program should be based on an analysis of learners’ needs. Procedures used to collect information about learners’ needs are known as needs analysis (emerged in 1960s).

1. Purposes of needs analysis
  • To find out what language skills a learner needs in order to perform a particular role, such as sales manager, tour guide, or university students.
  • To help determine if existing courses adequately addressed the needs of potential students
  • To determine which students from a group are most in need of training particular language skills
  • To identify a gap between what students are able to do and what they need to be able to do
  • To collect information about a particular problem leaners are expecting.
  • To determine their communicative abilities in English
  • To determine their formal knolwledge of english
  • To find out how students use language on a daily basis
  • To determine what English language skills are necessary to enable students to participate in all school and comunity activities in English
  • To find out what prior experinces students have had with formal education, etc.
For example:
When a needs analysis of restaurant employees is conducted, the purposes might be:
  • To determine current levels of language proficiency of employees
  • To determine how many employees are in need of the language training
  • To identify senior restairant staff’s perception of language problem employees have on the job
  • To ascertain the types of transaction employees typically perform in English.
Needs analysis may take place prior to, during, or after a language program.

2. The users of needs analysis
A needs analysis may be conducted for a variety of different users. For example, in conducting a needs analysis to help revise the secondary school English curricuum in a country, the end users include:
  • Curriculum officers in ministry of education, who may wish to use the information to evalute the adequacy of exixting syllabus, curriculum, and materials
  • Teachers who will teach from the new curriculum
  • Learners who will be taught from the curriculum
  • Writers, who are preparing new textbooks
  • Testing personnel, who are involved in developing end-of-school assesments
  • Staff of tertiary institution, who are interested in knowing what the expected level will be of students exixiting the schools and what problem they face.
3. The target population
The target population in a needs analysis refers to the people about whom information will be collected. Typically, in language programs these will be language learners or potential language learners, but others are also often involved depending on whether they can provide information useful in meeting the purposes of the needs analysis. The other target population might include:
  • Policy makers
  • Ministry of education officials
  • Teachers
  • Employers
  • Parents
  • Vocational training specialists
  • Administering The needs analysis
Planning a needs analysis involves deciding who will adminster the needs analysis and collect and analyzed the result. In language program, informal needs analysis is part of a teacher’s ongoing responsibilites. 

      a. The research team ( academics and research assistant)
      b. Students who piloted the questionnaire
      c. Academic staff who adminiter some of the questionnaire.
      d. Secretarial suport to prepare questionnaire and tabulating data.

Informal needs assessment deals with the informal negotiations that take place between class teachers and students in the form of chats with either individual students, group of students, or the whole class in order to select a focus for the class and create group cohesion by establishing a coincidence of learning needs. .... Informal needs assessment is normally the main task of the classroom teacher during week one of the course....It is a necessary component of information retrieval on students’ learning needs and should be recorded. It can subsequently be used as an input for aims and objectives setting and for devising course outlines. (Shaw and Dowsett 1986, 47-49)

5. Procedures for conducting needs analysis
A variety of precedures can be used in condcuting needs analysis and the kind of information obtained is often dependent on the type of procedure selected. Since any one source of infromation is likely to be incomplete or partial, a triangular approach (i.e. collecting information from two or more sources) is advisable. For example, when a needs analysis of the writing problems encountered by foreign students enrolled in American universities is conducted, information could be obtained from the following sources:
  • Samples of students writing
  • Test data on students performance
  • Reports by teachers on typical problems students face
  • Opinon of experts
  • Information from students via interviews and questioneres
  • Analysis of textbook eaching academic writing, etc.
Here are the procedures:

a. Questionnaire
Questionnaires are one of the most common instruments used. They are relatively easy to prepare. They can be used with large numbers of subjects, and they obtain information that is relatively easy to tabulate and analyze. They can also be used to elicit information about many different kinds of issues such as language use, communication difficulties, preferred learning style, preferred classroom activities, and attitudes and beliefs.

Questionairres are either based on a set of structured items (in which the respondents chooses from a limited number of responses) or unstructured (in which open-ended questions are given that the respondent can answer as he or she chooses). Structured items are much easier to analyze and are hence normally preferred.

b. Self-rating
These consists of scales that students or others use to rate their knowledge or abilities. (self-rating might also be included as part of a questuonair.) for example, a student might rate how well he or she can hadle a job interview in English. The disadvantage of such an instrument is that it provides in impressionistic information and information that is not very precise.

c. Interviews
Interviews allow for a more in-depth exploration of issues than is possible with a questionaire, though they take longer to administer and are only feasible for smaller group. An interview may often be useful at the preliminary stage of designing a questionaire, since it will help the designer get a sense of what topics and issues can be focused on in the the questionaire. A structured interview in which a set series of questions is used allows more consistency accross responses to be obtained. Interviews can be conducted face-to-face or over the telephone.

d. Meetings
A meeting allows a large amount of information to be collected in a fairly short time. For example, a meeting of teachers on the topic “students’ problem with listening comprehension” might generate a wide range of ides. However, information obtained in this way may be impressionistic and subjective and reflect the ideas of more outspoken members of a group.

e. Observation
Observations of learners’ behaviour in a target situation is another way of assessing their needs. For example, observing clerks performing their jobs in a bank will enable the observer to arrive at certain conclusion about their language needs.
However, people often do not perform well when they are being observed, so this has to be taken into account. In addition, observation is a specialized skill. Knowing how to observe, what to look for, and how to make use of the informaton obtained generally requires specialized training.

f. Collecting learner language samples
Collecting data on how well learners perform on different language tasks (e.g., business letters, interviews, telephone calls) and docuenting the typeical problems they have is a useful and direct source of information about learners’ language needs. Language samples may be collected through the following means:
  • Written or oral tasks: examples of students written or oral work are collected
  • Simulations or role plays: students are given simulation to carry out and their performance is observed or recorded.
  • Achievement tests: students are tested for their abilities in different domains of language use.
  • Performance test: students are tested on job-related or task-related behavior, such as “how well a job interview can be carried out in English.”