To Infinity and Beyond: Using a Narrative Approach to Identify Training Needs for Unknown and Dynamic Situations



Training effectiveness depends on conducting a thorough needs assessment. Traditional needs assessment methods are insufficient for today's business environment characterized by rapid pace, risk, and uncertainty. To overcome the deficiencies of traditional needs assessment methods, a narrative-based unstructured interview approach with subject matter experts (SMEs) is proposed for dynamic jobs in uncertain environments. First, the rationale for a narrative approach to training needs assessment is presented. Second, the utility of a narrative approach is examined using SME interviews from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to identify crew training needs for a future long duration mission. Third, the value of a narrative approach and importance of training are discussed with respect to the NASA interview results along with managerial and theoretical implications.