Answers

pollypomfrey's picture

Hi Leighton,

We ask delegates for their 'reaction' to the course, as well as asking them what they learnt that they have found 'useful'. We also ask them to compare their knowledge levels before and after the course - subjective, but can provide some interesting data. In total, about 4 questions or so (not including a box for 'any other comments'.

Over the years we've designed and produced evaluation forms, we've found that less is more - from the delegates' point of view. Yes, as trainers we want as much information as we can get on what delegates thought - but this can end up being counter productive. Faced with a sheet full of questions/ratings/comments boxes, many delegates leave them blank or just complete them on automatic pilot without really thinking about it.

So we've found it's better to have a simple form with just a few, highly relevant questions - hopefully giving us data that means something. We do still get blank forms, or ones without much information on, but the majority have some really interesting - and importantly - useful comments.

Hope this helps?

Polly Pomfrey

www.synergizetrainingresources.com

 

odinnovations's picture

Hi Leighton

By evaluation form, I take it you mean the "Happy Sheet" handed out at the end of courses and completed as quickly as possible by delegates in order that they can get away.  

The only usefulness of these "Happy Sheets" appears to be an effective way of collecting, collating and recording data, but I have found that the quality of data collected often adds little value to the evaluation of an event.  The collation of the information is usually of minimal worth to improve/develop the course, "Quality of handouts average 8.9": What does that mean?!!  Even when the rating system is supported with open questions for example 1. "What did you least enjoy about.......?" or more specifically 2. "What will you be implementing when you return to the workplace?" answers can often be banal for example 1. Lunch  2. Everything. 

To help combat this I have often used a "Talking Wall" exercise that enables delegates to discuss the course with each other prior to evaluating and to share their comments with the group to stimulate discussion.  This does take time (depending on the length of the programme 30 mins up to 1 hour 30 mins) but not only has the evaluation data validity and substance, it also acts as a reflection exercise for the delegates, highlights any additional questions and helps embed learning.  Additionally, as it is interactive they leave on a high! 

If you are interested in having a copy of the session, please e-mail me direct.

Angela

 

mattdrought's picture

Great question - been tussling with these for years.  I did some research last year and bought Peter Block's book, The Flawless Consulting Fieldbook and Companion: A Guide to Understanding Your Expertise.

It has great ideas about evaluation forms.

The basis of the thinking is  that evaluation forms don't serve the delegates well.  If they did, there would be more frequent, smaller, "fine-tuning" evaluations right throughout the day to provide a better experience.  Kind of like testing the temperature of success. 

It's a fascinating book, and an interesting article about evaluations - I suggest you give it a go.

jamshed's picture

Getting the evaluation form filled at the end of a course is done by us just as a routine since it is mandatory, however the best evaluation we do is everyday at the end of the course. We give our participants as sheet of paper with just three questions

1. List three things (skills, knowledge, understanding etc) you have learned today

2. Describe briefly how you will apply at least one (prefereable two) learned skill(s), idea(s), or method(s) in your day to day work

3. What will improve or change in your department as a result of the above.

by asking these three focused questions that look at applicability we are able to evaluate how useful our courses are.

I agree that there needs to be a group discussion on how reflections of the learning and back home applicability

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