I recently attended a webinar on mentoring and induction programs for new PK-12 teachers. A survey popped up at the end and among the questions was this feedback form favorite – “What did you learn?” I answered honestly, “I learned strategies for mentoring and new teacher induction.”
Feedback Survey Fails
Most adult learning sessions, whether conducted in-person or online, include participant feedback surveys. All too often though, learning designers create these as an afterthought, long after the content has been created. Part of the problem lies in the fact that feedback surveys feel very easy to compose. After all, they’re just a quick set of questions we pose to participants about how they liked the session, what they learned and how they plan to use the material, right?
Feedback surveys can be much more than that, but the reality is that questions that seem straightforward like the one above can pose problems for respondents – those participants who complete the survey. And when that happens, it can render results virtually useless – poor quality data that lacks meaning and doesn’t inspire action.
By attending to the WHY, WHAT, and HOW of survey design you can set yourself up to collect rich, useful data that will effectively inform your efforts to continuously improve eLearning.
Know WHY you are creating a feedback survey
Know WHAT a survey can measure
It’s important to recognize that surveys cannot truly measure behavior. Rather, they measure people’s perceptions of behavior, or behavior they choose to report. If I tell you how often I exercise each week, that may or may not agree with data you might collect if you spend a week observing me!
Know HOW to design quality questions that will yield meaningful data
Know HOW to engage respondents to get the best response rate
Of course, completing a feedback form may be compulsory for participants to receive credit or compensation, but it’s not the best way to get high-quality data.
Bonus tip: Consider follow-up surveys to measure what you can’t measure at the close of the course – e.g., if/how participants are using what they learned, in what ways, and with what degrees of success.
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