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Experts on Needs Assessment

Ryan Watkins | Doug Leigh | Roger Kaufman | Jim Altschuld | more to come...

Ryan Watkins, PhD

is a Professor at the George Washington University in Washington DC.  He authored A Guide to Assessing Needs, a book published by the World Bank and available online for free. He is also an author on The Art of Knowledge Exchange, available through the World Bank.  Previously he edited the Handbook for Improving Performance in the Workplace: Selecting and Implementing Performance Interventions (Wiley/Jossey-Bass, 2010), with 34 chapters linking alternative improvement activities with the accomplishment of useful results. He is also an author of the E-learning Companion: A learnerís guide to online success (Wadsworth/Cengage, 2005, 2007, 2010), the world's best-selling e-learning textbook with more than a 100,000 copies in press and a 4th edition in the works for 2013. His other books include: Performance By Design: The systematic selection, design, and development of performance technologies (HRD Press, 2006), and 75 E-learning Activities: Making online courses interactive (Pfieffer, 2005), as well as three other books on organizational planning. Ryan has authored than 95 articles and book chapters on instructional design, strategic planning, needs assessment, distance education, and performance technology. His articles are frequently cited in the performance improvement literature, making him the 4th most cited author of journal articles in the field. Dr. Watkins is an active member of the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), the American Evaluation Association (AEA) and its Needs Assessment TIG, and was a vice president of the Inter-American Distance Education Consortium (CREAD).   In 2005 Ryan was a visiting scientist with the National Science Foundation. For more information please visit

Doug Leigh, PhD

is an associatiate professor at Pepperdine University. He is co-author of Assessment Book: Applied Strategic Thinking and Performance Improvement Through Self-Assessments (HRD Press, 2008), Strategic Planning for Success: Aligning People, Performance, and Payoffs (Pfeiffer, 2003), and Useful Educational Results: Defining, Prioritizing, and Accomplishing (Proactive Publishing, 2001). He is an associate director of Roger Kaufman & Associates, two-time chair of the American Evaluation Associationís Needs Assessment Topic Interest Group, and past editor-in-chief of Performance Improvement, the International Society for Performance Improvement's (ISPI) monthly professional journal. He is also 2008 chair of ISPIís Research Committee. His current research, publication and lecture interests concern cause analysis, organizational trust, leadership visions, and alternative dispute resolution. For more information, visit:

Roger Kaufman, PhD

is Professor Emeritus, Florida State University, and Director of Roger Kaufman & Associates. He is also Distinguished Research Professor at the Sonora Institute of Technology. His PhD is in communications from New York University. He consults with public and private organizations in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand,   Latin America, and Europe. He is a Certified Performance Technologist and a Diplomate in School Psychology and a Fellow in Educational Psychology of the American Psychological Association. He has been recognized by the ASTD for Distinguished Contribution to Workplace Learning and Performance. Dr. Kaufman has published 39 books and more than 256 articles on strategic planning, performance improvement, quality management and continuous improvement, needs assessment, management, and evaluation. For more information please visit

Jim Altschuld, PhD

obtained his bachelorís (Case Western Reserve University) and masterís (The Ohio State University) degrees in chemistry. After a brief career in that field he completed his doctorate in educational research and development from the latter institution. Subsequently he worked in a large urban school district, a state department of education (Delaware), and then for 32 years he was an OSU staff member and eventually a professor in educational research and evaluation. He is now professor emeritus at the University where he continues to write books (6 of the 7 on needs assessment), conduct research studies, publish articles, evaluate projects, and present nationally. He has received local, state, and national (the Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Award of the American Evaluation Association) recognitions for his longtime involvement and contributions to the evaluation enterprise. Aside from these endeavors, he and his wife (Ruth) have two sons and a grandson and granddaughter.