Needs analysis

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A needs analysis (/ni:dz ənæləsɪs/; plural needs analyses (/ni:dz ənæləsi:s/)) is a means of defining as precisely as possible the learners' language needs and understanding what they think they can obtain from the language course.

It serves (at least) two purposes:

  1. It gives the teacher more of an idea about how to adapt the course to the student, rather than the student having to adapt to the course.
  2. It helps the student become more aware of his/her role in the learning process.

Although pertinent to other forms of language teaching, it is a prerequisite to designing material for an ESP course.

Sample needs analysis

The following is a needs analysis used for adult students. It can obviously be adapted to suit any specific teaching situation.

The aim of this questionnaire is for you, the student, to be aware of your own learning process (past, present and future) and how to improve on it, if necessary.

Please photocopy this form, fill it in and keep it with your class notes. Check it occasionally to see if your opinions have changed, and if so, in what way.

In January and June we will repeat this needs analysis, see what conclusions can be drawn and decide if any action needs to be taken.

  • B. You need (English) to: (yes/no)
    • speak formally at meetings etc.
    • speak in informal situations
    • participate in negotiations etc.
    • read/translate texts
    • other reasons:
  • C. What types of (English) do you need?: (yes/no)
    • economic
    • formal
    • general
    • informal
    • legal
    • medical
    • social
    • sports
    • technical
    • others (what?)
  • D. Why do you want to study a foreign language? (yes/no)
    • For current work
    • For personal interest
    • For future work
    • For no special reason
    • Other reasons (which?)
  • E. How satisfied are you as regards the following aspects: (very – quite – ok – not very)
    • your habitual place of study? (noise, phone, light, temperature, etc.)
    • the time you dedicate to study?
    • the theoretical content of your classes?
    • the practical content of your classes?
    • the relation effort/results?
    • your class in general?
    • your progress in general?
    • others?
  • F. How many hours do/can you study (English):
    • on a normal weekday (apart from classes)? (minimum)
    • at the weekend? (minimum)
  • G. On a scale of 0 (max. passivity) to 10 (max. participation), define your attitude in class. (circle) 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
  • H. Does the level of your class corresponds to yours? (yes/no)
    • If not, would you like to change group (higher or lower level)?
    • Does the teacher adapt the content to the class level?
    • Would you like to spend more time revising basic concepts?
    • Do you spend enough time learning/revising new concepts?
    • Comments
  • I. State how satisfied you are with the amount of time spent in class on the following: (yes/no)
    • functions
    • grammar
    • homework
    • pronunciation
    • reading
    • revision/general
    • situations
    • speaking accurately
    • speaking fluently
    • teacher correction
    • translating
    • understanding speech
    • vocabulary
    • others

Thank you for your collaboration, and enjoy your language learning.


See also