Step 1: Assess Needs

Assess Needs

About this training module


Discover why it’s important to start a KM initiative with an information needs assessment and how to conduct rapid and low-cost assessments.

It’s always a good idea to start any knowledge management (KM) intervention for global health with a needs assessment to help you to understand the current capacity for exchanging knowledge in your health program and to identify knowledge-sharing gaps. The needs assessment can also serve as a baseline snapshot of the current situation, which you can then use to compare the effects of your KM intervention later.


Some people want to skip this step though because they think they already know what the problem is and how to solve it. Or maybe they think there isn’t enough time to do a needs assessment.


Even if you have limited time or resources, or think you already have a firm understanding of the problem and the needed solution, we still recommend starting with a rapid needs assessment to think through the issues, barriers, and facilitating factors to using and sharing knowledge in your global health program, including who is engaged in KM systems and processes and who is excluded unfairly. This time will be well spent because it helps ensure that the strategy and activities you put in place—and the resources you spend—are meeting a real need!


In this training module, participants will learn how to assess the knowledge and information needs and gaps of a health program that, if addressed, could help improve the effectiveness of the program. They will also understand the purpose of assessing knowledge needs, different methodologies for assessing needs, and how to begin designing a needs assessment scaled to a program’s needs and available resources.

What training participants will learn

Understand why it is important to assess knowledge needs in their program

Explain the purpose and use of common KM assessment methodologies, including inexpensive ways to assess knowledge needs if resources are limited

Learn how to integrate equity and behavioral science considerations into a needs assessment

Explore how user personas and journey maps can be used as data collection and/or synthesis tools for your needs assessment

This module includes:

Click on the Training Materials tab above to access the files.

2 slide decks

1 exercise

2 samples/templates

Bonus materials:

1 assessment tool for organizational KM

2 guides for conducting needs assessments and M&E of KM

Are you a:

KM trainer looking to design and lead a KM workshop? Learn how to build your own custom workshop agenda that’s right for your audience. See a sample training agenda for Step 1: Assess Needs

Health professional wanting to learn more about KM on your own or looking for practical KM tools? Find out which materials are right for you and how to make the most out of this KM Training Package website