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Needs analysis involves doing some kind of activity with a learner in order to find out what their learning needs are. A good understanding of learner needs can contribute to successful course planning.
On the first day with a new group the teacher gives the proposed syllabus aims for the course, and asks learners to prioritise them in relation to the contexts that they will need to use language in.
In the classroom
Needs analysis is part of building learner awareness and autonomy. Asking learners what they feel they need to practise is a good initial step. As well as providing data, it can encourage them to start thinking about their learning and taking responsibility for it.