Developing a Comprehensive Needs Assessment Model for Implementation in Continuing Education
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Continuing Education practitioners strive to meet the educational needs of their students, who are primarily adult students whose educational needs are not met by traditional matriculation. It is the desire of Continuing Education to design, develop and implement educational activities that can be easily accessed and meet the needs of the adult student. As Continuing Education is motivated by a variety of goals, its successes range from providing educational programming that improves the adult learners knowledge to generating revenue. Recent literature reveals that needs assessment is a tool used to achieve these goals. It is therefore the purpose of this study to develop a needs assessment model for implementation in Continuing Education. Throughout the literature on adult education needs assessment, three key concepts are identified and discussed. These salient concepts comprise a practical ideal model for assessing continuing education activities and include planning purpose, data collection and analysis, and utilization. In this research, the ideal model is used as a point of departure to validate and refine the model. Both survey questionnaires and interview questions are used to gauge the appropriateness and usefulness of the practical ideal model for needs assessment in Continuing Education, and to get feedback on the model from Continuing Education providers and professionals engaged in needs assessment. The table on the next page represents the practical ideal model for comprehensive needs assessment in Continuing Education. The findings of the research indicate that the originally proposed needs assessment model derived from the literature was supported. As a matter of fact, responses to all but one of the sub-components indicated that those in Continuing Education that engage in needs assessment believe these components are important and comprise a comprehensive needs assessment model.