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Blake Henegan

Optimus Learning Services

Managing Director

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Getting learner feedback


 Ok, we've all been there at the end of a session with the session finished and then the happy sheet comes out.  It serves some purpose but do people ever give honest answers (except trainers who I hope see the importance of these forms).

I'm not delivering training (yet) but i'd like to learn about different methods. 

So what the best alternatives people have used,  whats worked, what hasn't worked?  

5 Responses

  1. give it time…..

    I often get all the delegates to give me their contact details and then a month later I call them and ask "What are you doing differently now from your actions before the training event?"

    It also gives the opportunity for delegates to ask questions and seek advice relating to issues that have cropped up in the real world since the training.

    I hope that helps


  2. Before During and After

    If possible contact delegates a couple of times before the event. This establishes rapport and gives both of you the opportunity to discuss what you are about to do and for them to tell you what they are expecting.

    Self evaluate THROUGHOUT the session to enable you to change tack if what you are doing isn’t working. (Evaluating at the end is too late!)

    Have some post course contact by phone, email or social media to capture any comments that could help you and them learn from what you both experienced.

    Smiley sheets given and completed on the day of the course are a waste of time in  my opinion.

  3. Revisiting our purpose

    Why are we so obsessed with happy sheets? Is immediate reaction on-the-spot more valuable than a survey a day, or a week, or a month later? (The comparison may be interesting, but doesn’t justify our blanket use of these surveys.)  The captive audience is one reason, but I suspect most of the captives are none too happy about it!

    One alternative I’ve used is ballot boxes, into which learners deposit tokens indicating their agreement (or not) with key statements.  Quick and more fun.

    But I think the key question to ask is what do we hope to learn from learner reactions, and how will we use that information?  I’ve yet to hear an answer to this question that justifies carpet-bombing with happy sheets…

  4. Participant reaction

    Heres one with no forms. I use it at after coffee break or lunchtime sometimes as an energiser or to see where everyone is so far. It can also be used at the end of a session.

    Ask everyone to make a line between two points in the room you are in. At one end is good / brilliant/ excellent – you decide on the range and at the other end is poor/ bad/ rubbish. 

    Wherever people are situated on the line I ask the same question (even if they are at the top section).

    What can I do to make the training you are receiving better. If the exercise is at the end the questino is what can I do to improve this training for others?

    When used part way through a session this has often provided some small chnages that are easily delivered. The question is very important as I am not seeking a rush of complaints about the venue / etc if I cannot control them.


    Cheers, Nick           

Author Profile Picture
Blake Henegan

Managing Director

Read more from Blake Henegan

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