A Guide to Performing a Needs Assessment and a Gap Analysis
A Needs Assessment is: A systematic process of gathering information that is appropriate and
sufficient to develop an effective educational program that will address the groups’ needs and
wants (gap). Methods that are frequently used for determining a needs assessment include the
• Membership Learning Needs Survey
• Patient Care Requirements
• Request from Sample of Potential Audience (focus groups)
• Changes in Legislation or reimbursement
• Review of current professional literature
• Evaluation from prior learning activity
• Recent trends in patient population
• Annual event
• Others including: QI data, Morbidity and Mortality data, new methods of diagnosis or
treatment, new technologies.
A Gap Analysis is: A gap analysis can be defined as the determination of the difference between
current knowledge/practices (what we are doing) and current Evidence Based Practices (what we
should be doing). Gaps can occur in knowledge, skills or practice.
Steps to Performing a Gap Analysis:
1. Find the need- through conducting a Needs Assessment
2. Is the gap a knowledge, skill or practice? Determine “What is the best practice? “
3. Determine the Purpose of the Activity then develop the learning objectives to “closing the gap”
Copyright © 2012 by Anthony J. Jannetti, Inc. (2012). All rights reserved. Permission to reproduce this work
for educational purpose is granted, provided proper citation is given.
A representation: Incorporating a needs assessment and
gap analysis into the educational design. Pitman, NJ: Author.
Step 1: Perform a Needs
Step 2: Determine the Educational
Gaps in knowledge, skills or practice:
What is the best practice?
Step 3: Determine Purpose of the Activity
&Program objectives and Design
Step 4: Course Development
Step 5: Implement the Activity
Step 6: Evaluate the Activity