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Thinking about needs assessment, what types of questions might you ask to get the most out of your instructional or training analysis? Share at least three questions that you feel are most important, and explain your reason for selecting these.


For my course project, I will be designing a new training process for an animal shelter I volunteered with in the past. While I was volunteering there, many dogs would come in with no significant behavioral problems only to develop aggressive antisocial and guarding behaviors during their time at the shelter. These behavioral problems played a major role in preventing many of the dogs from finding new homes. As a part of my analysis, the following questions can help me to identify the most critical aspects of the problem and, subsequently, determine appropriate training objectives for the shelter’s employees and volunteers.

1) Are all volunteers following shelter policies regarding animal handling and socialization?

After the initial outbreak of Covid-19, the shelter switched to a virtual training program. Volunteers had to complete some simple online tests, then attend an hour-long training tour with an experienced staff member before being allowed to come and go as they wish. This training may not have been adequate for learning these important policies. A staff member should be assigned to supervise volunteer activities in the dog areas of the shelter to determine whether policies are being followed correctly.

2) Which handling and socialization policies need to be changed?

While the shelter environment is inherently stressful, it should not be causing such widespread behavioral issues in all of the shelter’s dogs. A staff member experienced with behavioral issues should analyze the policies and collaborate with the staff members observing volunteers to gather more data on which policies may need to be altered or more strictly enforced.

3) How will the shelter conduct training for all volunteers?

Conducting training for all of the shelter volunteers has the potential to be a huge logistical problem. The shelter has hundreds of volunteers with widely varying availabilities, levels of experience, and motivations for volunteering. Some volunteers are far more invested in ensuring that the dogs are all adoptable than others, who may be volunteering only for the hours. We will need to conduct training in a way that will be time- and cost-effective for the shelter staff while making a marked improvement in how the dogs are handled.

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