SIDS Program Manual Trainer's Guide SIDS & Infant Death Program Manual and Trainer's Guide


Strengths and Needs Assessment

Hopes and Expectations of the Training

If you are not able to conduct an assessment before the training, there are a variety of techniques to determine participants' knowledge and expertise as well as their hopes for the training that day.

One quick way to conduct an assessment is to ask participants to write down their hopes and expectations about the training as they arrive:

  • Post sheets of flip chart paper on the walls of the training room with titles such as One or two things I hope to learn at this training and One or two concerns I have about this training.
  • Ask participants as they enter the training room to write his or her comments on the flip chart paper.
  • Review all of the comments with the group.
  • Let participants know which expectations will likely be met through the training and which may be beyond the scope of the training.

For example, if one of the participants writes that he is concerned that the trainer will use too much technical language or difficult scientific concepts, the trainer might say:

Some people seem concerned that this training will have too many concepts that are difficult to understand. We are really going to try hard to make the concepts as user-friendly as possible.

However, if we start to use scientific jargon or talk about things you don?t understand, please let us know at that time or talk with one of the trainers during a break. We really want this training to be meaningful for everyone, so please help us by asking questions and giving feedback.

If someone writes that she wants to get detailed information about the latest research investigating the relationship between SIDS and smoking, the trainer might say:

Actually, we won't be covering that specific information in detail, but I can refer you to the National SIDS Resource Center, which prepares annotated bibliographies on topics such as smoking and SIDS. I'll give you the telephone number to call for more information.

The trainer can then be a helpful resource for topics outside the scope of the training. However, if a number of participants have hopes and expectations that are not covered in a training plan, it is often helpful to take time to address these expectations before moving on with the training as you have planned.

This approach is respectful of people's perceived needs and eliminates one impediment to learning. If necessary, the training agenda can be revised to address the needs of participants and discard less-important portions of the training. Flexibility is key in any training environment.