All users of the curriculum are advised to carry out an assessment of the needs of those professionals who will be taking the course. This will help ensure that the audience's expectations are met by the course when it is finally organized. It will also help the teacher to select appropriate training objectives and to design an appropriate course evaluation which fits these objectives. The needs of your target audience will differ depending on its composition.
Child psychiatrists will likely have different needs than will medical students for example. Some may prefer to select participants with similar backgrounds in order to provide a highly focused training experience, whilst others may prefer to broaden the scope of their intervention and mix professionals with various backgrounds, so as to bring together as many different points of view as possible. Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages.
General concept of the needs assessment
Teachers should first have an idea of the professional background of the audience:
- Socio-demographic characteristics (gender, age, married, children, etc.)
- Type of training, year of graduation, specialization, etc.
- Current activities (setting, clinical/research/prevention, etc)
- Involvement with adolescents (percent of their total time spent with adolescents)
- Orientation, network, multidisciplinary approach, etc.
- Type of supervision
Setting up your training objectives
- First identify your target population and how you are going to attempt to reach it.
- Identify your objectives and your time schedule.
- Select an appropriate mode of communication with your target audience (email, letter etc).
- Design your questionnaire.
- Collect the data.
- Analyze the data, disseminate the content.