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Running head: SIGNATURE ASSIGNMENT: PLANNING A NEEDS ASSESSMENT

Signature Assignment: Planning a Needs Assessment


Stephanie Cosentino
CUR/528
July 24, 2017
Professor Justin Atwood
SIGNATURE ASSIGNMENT: PLANNING A NEEDS ASSESSMENT 2

Needs Assessment

According to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, it is necessary to make all

electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities (GSA, 2017).

Due to the enactment of this law, Instructional Designers are responsible for ensuring the

materials and resources they include in their courses are ADA compliant. They are also

responsible for adhering to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA.

Unfortunately, no formal ADA compliancy training has been provided to the Instructional

Designers at the University of Phoenix. Despite this fact, the Instructional Designers are still held

accountable for ensuring materials and resources used in their courses are ADA compliant.

Therefore, there is a need for additional ADA compliancy training.

Goals/Purpose

The purpose of the needs assessment is to determine if Instructional Designers at the

University of Phoenix are in need of professional development opportunities related to ADA

compliancy, such as a general awareness of the ADA compliancy guidelines, the ability to

evaluate materials and resources for ADA compliancy, and the ability to create their own

materials and resources that are ADA compliant.

Participants

The participants in this needs assessment will be the Instructional Designers from all of

the colleges at the University of Phoenix. These individuals range in age from mid-20s through

mid-50s. Most of them have worked as an Instructional Designer for a median of two years and

hold a masters degree in a related field.

Level of Assessment
SIGNATURE ASSIGNMENT: PLANNING A NEEDS ASSESSMENT 3

The level of assessment will be organizational and will target all Instructional Designers

from the different colleges at the University of Phoenix. Instructional Designers will be assessed

on their confidence level in the following areas: awareness of ADA compliancy guidelines,

ability to evaluate materials and resources for ADA compliancy, and ability to create materials

and resources that are ADA compliant.

Stakeholders

Stakeholders include the different colleges within the University of Phoenix, such as the

College of Education, the College of Information Systems and Technology, the College of

Humanities and Sciences, the College of Health Professions, the School of Business, and the

School of Advanced Studies. The Academic Deans, Program Deans, and Assistant Program

Deans from each of these colleges are also included as stakeholders. Finally, all University of

Phoenix students are stakeholders, as they will use the ADA compliant materials and resources to

complete their program and studies.

Budget and Available Resources

The budget for this assessment will come from the funds allocated for training purposes

each fiscal year. The assessment will be for current Instructional Designers, so it will be placed

under the umbrella of professional development costs for each respective college. The costs

associated with this assessment should be very minimal. The assessment survey will be sent via

email to all Instructional Designers. Therefore, most of the expenses related to this assessment

will be the time it takes to develop the survey questions and the time it takes to compile and

analyze the results.

Time Allotted
SIGNATURE ASSIGNMENT: PLANNING A NEEDS ASSESSMENT 4

The time needed to complete the assessment will range from ten to thirty minutes,

depending on the depth of responses provided. The first portion includes six questions that can

be answered by checking boxes on a degree scale (e.g., Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree,

Strongly Disagree, and Doesnt Apply). The second portion consists of seven questions that

allow for short answers in the form of essay responses. Individuals will be allowed a period of

two weeks to complete the survey. A reminder email will be sent out on two occasions during the

two-week window.

Specific Information Needed for Assessment

The specific information will be gathered by collecting the data from the checklist and

the short answer portion of the survey. The survey data will provide the basis for determining the

training needs for Instructional Designers across all colleges. Since Instructional Designers are

ultimately responsible for developing the courses used in all colleges at the University of

Phoenix, it is critical to assess their professional development needs. This is the only way to

ensure that Instructional Designers are aware of the ADA compliancy guidelines, are able to

evaluate materials and resources for ADA compliancy, and are able to develop their own ADA-

compliant materials and resources.

The information needed to conduct this assessment includes questions related to the

confidence level of Instructional Designers in the areas of awareness, evaluation, and application

of ADA compliancy guidelines.

Methodology and Instrumentation

Procedures:
SIGNATURE ASSIGNMENT: PLANNING A NEEDS ASSESSMENT 5

A list will be created of all of the Instructional Designers from all colleges at the

University of Phoenix. An email will be sent out to all of the Instructional Designers, inviting

them to participate in a short survey which will be used to determine professional development

needs. The survey will consist of six questions that can be answered by checking a box on a

checklist and seven short answer questions. The Instructional Designers will have two weeks to

complete the survey. Once the two week period has elapsed, all of the data from the surveys will

be compiled. If the data shows a need for professional development opportunities, then

professional development training sessions will be developed according to areas of need and

implemented within a time period of three months. The same survey will be sent out again in six

months to determine if the Instructional Designers professional development needs have been

met. Depending on the results of the survey, additional questions may be asked to further

determine training needs.

Key Variables

There are two key variables that will apply to this assessment. First, there will be a time

constraint of two weeks in which the Instructional Designers must complete the survey. Due to

people being out of the office on vacation, they may not be able to complete the survey within

the two-week period. Another variable is the knowledge level of the Instructional Designers.

Some of them will have greater knowledge of ADA compliancy guidelines than others due to

past training experiences. The first variable will have the greatest possibility of affecting the

results and causing errors. Therefore, an error rate of + or -5 points will be included in the overall

results.

Conclusion
SIGNATURE ASSIGNMENT: PLANNING A NEEDS ASSESSMENT 6

This needs assessment has been developed to gather information that will determine

whether Instructional Designers need professional development in the area of ADA compliancy.

The first six questions on the survey consist of forced-choice questions that require the

Instructional Designers to select from a range of alternatives which are listed as a scale (e.g.,

Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree, and Doesnt Apply). This data can be

calculated, so it is quantitative in nature. The second portion of the survey includes seven open-

ended questions that allow for varied responses in an essay format, so the Instructional Designers

can expand on their answers and supply specific reasons for their choices. This data is qualitative

in nature.

Assessment Results

Of the 45 Instructional Designers who completed the survey, the results are as follows:

Survey Questions Strongly Agree Disagree Strongly Doesnt


Agree Disagree Apply
I am aware of the ADA compliancy
guidelines. 2 27 15 1 0

I would benefit from training that


explains the ADA compliancy 23 20 2 0 0
guidelines.
I feel comfortable evaluating course
materials and resources for ADA 0 5 17 23 0
compliancy.
I would benefit from training on
evaluating materials and resources for 31 9 5 0 0
ADA compliancy.
I feel comfortable creating
documents, materials, and resources 0 2 7 36 0
that are ADA compliant.
I would benefit from training on
creating documents, materials, and 25 18 2 0 0
SIGNATURE ASSIGNMENT: PLANNING A NEEDS ASSESSMENT 7

resources that are ADA compliant.

Analyzing the Data

Since the assessment data is both qualitative and quantitative in nature, it provides a clear

picture of the need for professional development in the area of ADA compliancy. Initially, the

respondents selected from a scale of choices for the first six questions. It was easy to calculate

the results and to review trends in the data. As shown in the table above, 64% of the IDs

surveyed feel they are already aware of the ADA compliancy guidelines, while 36% feel they

would benefit from further training in this area. Only 11% of the IDs feel comfortable evaluating

course materials and resources for ADA compliancy, while 89% feel they would benefit from

further training in this area. Only 4% of the IDs feel comfortable creating their own documents,

materials, and resources that are ADA compliant, while 96% feel they would benefit from further

training in this area.

The seven open-end responses took more time to evaluate because they consisted of a

wider range of answers. In general, 75% of the respondents said they feel there is a need for

professional development in the area of ADA compliancy. When asked to rate the need on a scale

of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest need, the mean score was 7. The area of greatest need is in

regard to evaluating materials and resources for ADA compliancy. Most Instructional Designers

feel this is a major area of responsibility in the course development process. Although they dont

feel comfortable creating their own materials and resources that are ADA compliant, only 30% of

the respondents said that this area was the greatest need. Most IDs surveyed felt that creating
SIGNATURE ASSIGNMENT: PLANNING A NEEDS ASSESSMENT 8

materials and resources is not within their realm of typical responsibilities and applies more to

the multimedia team. Of those who responded to the survey, it was nearly a 50/50 split of those

who prefer face-to-face training versus those who prefer virtual/Skype training or video tutorials.

Additionally, 80% of the respondents said they would voluntarily attend professional

development training related to ADA compliancy, while 20% said they would only attend the

training if it was mandatory. Finally, the respondents ranked the training in the following order

according to the topics most desired:

1. Training about evaluating materials and resources for ADA compliancy


2. Training about the ADA compliancy guidelines
3. Training about creating their own materials and resources that area ADA compliant

Summary

This needs assessment exhibits the demand for professional development among

Instructional Designers, which was 75% overall. The team will use the data from the survey to

determine what types of professional development should be offered for Instructional Designers.

In addition, the team will develop training in-house or find experts to present the professional

development training sessions at the next Instructional Design Conference.

Next Steps

Most of the professional development opportunities should be relatively inexpensive. For

example, Instructional Designers are allowed free access to Lynda.com. This website includes

many videos that are specifically related to ADA compliancy. Additionally, several Instructional

Designers recently attended the Designing with Accessibility in Mind Training which was

hosted by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC). Therefore, they would be great in-house

resources for providing training to their peers related to ADA compliancy. A follow-up email will
SIGNATURE ASSIGNMENT: PLANNING A NEEDS ASSESSMENT 9

be sent to all Instructional Designers. They will be allowed to select from two different options:

attending a face-to-face training session in a classroom on-site or attending a virtual/Skype

meeting. In addition, several video tutorials will be provided that can be accessed upon demand.

After attending the professional development training sessions, the Instructional Designers

should be better prepared to recognize, evaluate, and apply ADA compliancy guidelines, which is

the overall goal of performing this needs assessment.

References
SIGNATURE ASSIGNMENT: PLANNING A NEEDS ASSESSMENT 10

U.S. General Services Administration. (2017). GSA Government-wide Section 508 Accessibility

Program website. Retrieved from https://www.section508.gov/content/learn/laws-and-

policies

Assessment Instrument
SIGNATURE ASSIGNMENT: PLANNING A NEEDS ASSESSMENT 11

Dear Instructional Designers,


Due to legal regulations related to ADA compliancy in the field of higher education, I have
decided to conduct a needs assessment to determine how comfortable you currently feel about
the topic of ADA compliancy as it relates to your role as an Instructional Designer.
Please take a few minutes to complete the following survey and return it to me by July 22, 2017.

Professional Development Survey Related to ADA Compliancy


Part I: Checklist
Questions Strongly Agree Disagree Strongly Doesnt
Agree Disagree Apply
I am aware of the ADA compliancy
guidelines.
I would benefit from training that
explains the ADA compliancy
guidelines.
I feel comfortable evaluating course
materials and resources for ADA
compliancy.
I would benefit from training on
evaluating materials and resources for
ADA compliancy.
I feel comfortable creating
documents, materials, and resources
that are ADA compliant.
I would benefit from training on
creating documents, materials, and
resources that are ADA compliant.

Part II: Open-ended questions


Please answer the following questions in 75 words or less.

1. Do you feel there is a need for professional development in the area of ADA compliancy? If
so, how important is this need? Please rate on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest
need. If you said yes, explain why.
SIGNATURE ASSIGNMENT: PLANNING A NEEDS ASSESSMENT 12

2. What is your area of greatest need in regard to ADA compliancy training (awareness of ADA
compliancy guidelines, ability to evaluate materials and resources for ADA compliancy, or
ability to create ADA-compliant materials and resources)? Why did you choose this area of
need?

3. What is your preferred training format for ADA compliancy training (e.g., face-to-face,
virtual, video tutorials, etc.)?

4. Would you be willing to voluntarily attend professional development based related to ADA
compliancy, or would you only attend this type of training if it was required? Why?

5. Which of the following types of training would be most valuable to you? Please rank them
according to highest need, with 1 being the most desirable professional development topic.

_____ Training about the ADA compliancy guidelines


_____ Training about evaluating materials and resources for ADA compliancy
_____ Training about creating your own materials and resources that are ADA compliant

6. Why did you rank the topics in the order you selected?

7. Is there anything else related to ADA compliancy that you feel should be a topic of
discussion or professional development?

Initial Needs Assessment Planning Document

Questions for Consideration When Developing the Needs Assessment


SIGNATURE ASSIGNMENT: PLANNING A NEEDS ASSESSMENT 13

Who are the learners? (Be as specific as The learners are the Instructional Designers in
possible.) all of the colleges at the University of
Phoenix.

What do (we think) they know already? They know the basics of instructional design,
but need further training in determining if
materials and resources are ADA compliant
and training in creating their own materials
and resources that are ADA compliant.

What do we want them to know? We want them to be able to evaluate Word


documents, videos, podcasts, websites, and
other resources to determine if they are ADA
compliant. We also want them to be able to
create their own ADA compliant materials and
resources.

What do (we think) they want to know? We think they want to know how to determine
if materials and resources are ADA compliant
and we think they want to know how to create
their own materials and resources that are
ADA compliant.

What learning is most essential? How will we It is essential that Instructional Designers are
decide? able to adhere to ADA compliancy guidelines.
We will decide if they are adhering to ADA
compliancy guidelines by performing course
audits in the area of ADA compliancy.

What is the cause of this training need? Will This training is necessary due to laws about
training help? following ADA compliancy guidelines. Yes,
training will help instructional designers
become aware of the ADA compliancy
guidelines and will help them evaluate their
materials and resources for ADA compliancy.

What might/will learners do with this Learners will use this training to help them
training? Are there problems caused by not become more effective in their role as
training? instructional designers in regard to adhering
to ADA compliancy guidelines. Problems
caused by not training would be lack of
SIGNATURE ASSIGNMENT: PLANNING A NEEDS ASSESSMENT 14

knowledge of ADA compliancy guidelines,


which could result in law suits for the
University of Phoenix.

What data do we already have about our We dont currently have any data about our
training audience (past training evaluations, training audience.
volunteer feedback questionnaires)?

What types of training environments fit the There are several types of training
subject matter (workshops, coursework, in- environments that would fit the subject
the-field training, etc.)? matter: face-to-face workshops, virtual/Skype
workshops, or video tutorials. Each of these
training environments could be used to allow
the Instructional Designers to participate in
exercises that require them to evaluate a
variety of materials and resources for ADA
compliancy. In addition, they could learn how
to create their own ADA compliant materials
and resources.

Questionnaires (paper forms, online I will distribute digital surveys to Instructional


[SurveyMonkey, etc.]) Designers in all colleges to determine
professional development needs.