Importance of Training Needs Analysis to the Effective Design of Training Activities

A sound Training Needs Analysis 

is very crucial to the effective of training activities (Arthur et al. 2003). The authors point out that it is imperative to understand what are the organizational needs, what are the requirements to be fulfilled, what will be the contents of the training, who needs to be trained, which are indispensable for designing the training programs effectively. Buckley and Caple (2007) indicate that TNA makes it possible to identify employees’ current and future needs and help design training programs that fit and satisfy their needs.

TNA helps understand who needs training, what are their backgrounds in terms of education and experiences, in what areas they need to improve, their learning preferences, their expectations from the training programs and level of motivation, which can be figured out by a comprehensive TNA and is vital to the effective design of training activities (Pont, 2003). TNA helps in understanding the view of participants toward a training program by observing their attitudes, by asking questions before attending the training or by using 360 degree feedback that helps determine how motivated they are and to what extent they feel that there is a match between the training activity and their needs, which is very crucial in designing the training program. It is also pointed out that understanding participants’ expectations, their cultural background and their learning styles facilitate the effective designing of training activities and TNA helps generate data relating to these issues using learner-centred analysis (CIPD, 2008).

TNA also assists in generating pertinent data on participants’ abilities through job analysis and performance-based analysis, which help understand where they are and where they need to improve and this provides a basis on which the training activities are designed (Bowman and Wilson, 2008). When designing training activities, TNA plays a role in understanding the needs, expectations, preferences and styles of participants and trainers, which help assessing whether training should be trainer-directed, self-directed, individually-based or group-based (Marchington and Wilkinson, 1996).

However, when designing training activities, it is imperative to understand that training supports the transfer of training and is not monotonous throughout the training session (Harrison, 2002). Anderson (1994) argues that the effective design of training programs depends on the timely accomplishment of TNA. If too much time is devoted in determining the needs, preferences, expectations of participants and trainers, the design will be ineffective and will provide unproductive results. Peterson (1998) spells out that if the message of TNA does not reach to the people who will be trained, the design of training activities will be under focused and will not be cost effective.


• Anderson, G. (1994), “A Proactive Model for Training Needs Analysis”, Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 23-28.
• Arthur, W. Jr., Bennett, W. Jr., Edens, P. S., and Bell, S. T. (2003), “Effectiveness of Training in Organizations: A Meta-Analysis of Design and Evaluation Features”, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 88, No. 2, pp. 234-245.
• Bowman, J. and Wilson, J. P. (2008), “Different roles, different perspectives: perceptions about the purpose of training needs analysis”, Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 40, No.1, pp. 38-41.
• Buckley, R. and Caple, J. (2007), The Theory and Practice of Training, Kogan Page, London.
• CIPD (2008), Learner-centred Courses, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, [Online], Available:
• Harrison, R. (2002), Learning and Development, CIPD, London.
• Marchington, M. and Wilkinson, A. (1996), Core Personnel and Development, IPD, London.
• Peterson, R. (1998), Training Needs Assessment: meeting the training needs for quality performance, Kogan Page, London.
• Pont, T. (2003), Developing Effective Training Skills, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Wimbledon.

Posted by: Farid Ahmed

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