CPD activity toolkit
Conducting needs assessment

Identifying your audience’s educational needs

Whenever content is developed for an event or session, it is essential to determine who the target audience is. What is even more critical is determining the target audience’s educational needs. Identifying these needs can be done using needs assessment.

Needs assessment consists of identifying perceived needs, as well as unperceived ones, by collecting data and other information from a number of sources. The methods used to gather information depend on the target audience and subject matter. Below are some suggested sources.

Sources of information about perceived needs

  • consultation with planning committee members
  • surveys
  • questionnaires
  • focus groups
  • direct requests from the target audience

Sources of information about unperceived needs

  • self-assessment tests
  • chart audits
  • chart-stimulated recall interviews
  • direct observation of practice performance
  • quality assurance data from hospitals, regions
  • standardized patients
  • provincial databases
  • incident reports
  • published literature (RCT, cohort studies)

Read more

Needs Assessment and Grand Rounds: How to Do It

Needs assessment: Issues, methods, research and future directions. The Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, Vol. 18-3

Contact us

CPD Accreditation Coordinator
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
774 Echo Drive
Ottawa ON K1S 5N8
Telephone: 613-730-2587; toll-free 1-800-668-3740, ext. 587
Email: cpd-accreditation@royalcollege.ca