Identifying learning needs
Produced in partnership with Beth Pipe
Identifying learning needs

The following Practice Management guidance note Produced in partnership with Beth Pipe provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Identifying learning needs
  • What is a learning need?
  • Identifying the learning needs of individuals
  • Identifying the organisational learning needs
  • LNA reports

This Practice Note provides guidance on identifying learning needs and covers:

  1. what a learning need is

  2. individual learning needs

  3. organisational learning needs

  4. learning needs analysis (LNA) reports

For guidance on identifying initial learning and development (L&D) priorities for your firm, see Practice Note: Formulating a learning and development policy.

What is a learning need?

A learning need is a gap in the skills, knowledge or ability of an individual or organisation.

Learning needs are generally considered on two levels:

  1. the needs of the individual

  2. the needs of the organisation

Like any other business investment, learning should be planned, prioritised, targeted and managed to ensure the best possible return on the investment. It is vital that the learning needs are understood by the organisation and the individual if maximum benefit is to be gained from any proposed training.

On both an individual and organisational level you need to establish what is required and what the current situation is; the gap between the two is the learning need. This means thinking about what learning is needed to deliver the business goals versus the current capability within the firm.

Learning wants versus learning needs

Care should be taken to differentiate between learning wants and learning needs. A learning want may be a mere desire by an individual, or group of individuals, to learn or acquire a new skill.