Doing a Needs Assessment to Identify Your Audience

Before you start writing training materials for enterprise software, you need to do a needs assessment, which includes:

  • Identifying who needs to be trained
  • Identifying what needs to be trained
  • Identifying how the users are to be trained

As part of that needs assessment, you need to know who your audience is. Is it an accountant, who wants a theoretical rationale for an inventory revaluation method? Is it a Customer Service Representative, who wants to know all the variations and scenarios for pricing a sales order? Is it a Production Operator, who wants to know how to complete a work order? The best way to find out is to talk to their managers. Get out there, don't be afraid. Go talk to the manager of each department, and find out:

  • What job roles exist in the department
  • How many people work in each role
  • What each role's reading literacy level is (grade school, high school, college)
  • What each role's computer literacy level is (weak, fair, strong – no need to make it overly complex)
  • What kind of training materials each role has today
  • What kind of training materials each role would prefer to use on the job (Cheat sheets without screenshots? Detailed step-by-step instructions with screenshots? Simulations, not paper documents? It's important to choose a medium that suits the users. Nothing's worse than picking a medium that the users won't use.)

Before you write the first word of your training materials, make sure you do your needs assessment and your audience analysis.

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