Needs Assessments



CPD has the capability to assess educational needs through its Research Ethics Board approved project.

Continuing Professional Development, at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University has developed an approach to analyzing learning needs of a target audience.

Our approach entails the engagement of a steering committee that directs the focus to specific topics within a field of interest. The details of this direction is further explored by way of 2 paired surveys, the first is with an expert group to detail the expectations for necessary skills and ability required to perform the specified tasks, followed by a subsequent survey of the learning audience self-reporting on their skills or abilities.

The difference between expected skill/ability desired by the expert group and self-reported skill/ability of potential learner’s forms the basis for our analysis of “knowledge gaps”. By analyzing the desirability of specific topics of interest and the knowledge gaps we are able to categorize topics into those which are of the highest priorities and may require educational intervention.

Lastly, if consent is given, we have an algorithm which is utilized to provide each interested respondent with confidential feedback comparing their own reported abilities to those of their peers by way of an individualized learner report. This report highlights topics that are of the greatest priority based on both expert expectation and the ability scores submitted by their peers. Individualized reports form the basis of an educational plan to improve participant’s knowledge in areas that are felt to be both pertinent and beneficial to the learner.

Our department has completed many needs assessments in past, including:

  • Schulich Medicine & Dentistry faculty survey
  • Schulich Medicine & Dentistry residents' survey
  • National Rheumatology survey
  • National Diabetes survey
  • Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine survey
Should you desire more information on this useful and detailed method of needs assessment, contact us to see how we can support the assessment of learning needs for your stakeholders on a local, regional or national basis.