Identifying and assessing needs for a specific activity

What is Needs Assessment?

Needs assessment is the systematic process of gathering information and using it to determine instructional solutions to close the gap between what learners know and do and what learners should know and do. The fundamental premise is that, for education to be useful to the participants, it must close a gap or discrepancy between exiting levels of knowledge, skill, competency, or attitude and a specific, desired level.

Here's a brief explanation offered by Murray Kupelow, former president of the ACCME: