Post-Training Surveys

October 13, 2010

You’ve seen them. You’ve completed them. We’re talking here about those short (hopefully)surveys participants are asked to fill out after attending a training class. We call them “doughnut surveys” in part because in addition to asking substantive questions about the trainer and the training content, there are invariably a few questions about whether the venue was appropriate and whether the coffee and doughnuts were OK. The questions asked on these surveys are pretty basic but the answers you get back can be used to tweak program content and help trainers improve their platform skills.

Here are some questions we like to include:

Using a four point HOW OFTEN scale (All of the Time / Most of the Time / Some of the Time / None or Almost None of the Time) we ask participants often:

  • The material covered was appropriate for someone with my level of knowledge of the subject
  • The content of the training was applicable to my work or my interests
  • The material was presented in a clear and logical fashion
  • There was sufficient time in the session to cover the material that was presented
  • The instructor was knowledgeable of the subject
  • The instructor provided good examples
  • The instructor was respectful of students
  • The instructor was accessible for questions

Of course training is supposed to be about giving people in the information they need to adopt new behaviors or change existing behaviors.  Since they’ve only just completed the training we can’t ask participants about its actual impacts of their behavior. Instead we can ask about how likely it is that they will do things differently. We use a a three point LIKELIHOOD scale for this (Very Likely / Somewhat Likely/ Not Likely).  We like this language better than wordings that involve a  ’Do you plan to…’ structure because we believe it’s more concrete.  It’s harder to say you think you will do something than it is to say you are planning to do something.

A series of AGREE/DISAGREE asking about the degree to which the training sensitized participants about the issues it brought up conclude the survey. Of course we also include the usual demographic items as well as an open-ended item where we ask participants to share their thoughts about the content and overall experience. And we ask whether they liked the doughnuts as well. If you would like to obtain a sample survey, drop us a line.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Stephen Scanlon April 14, 2011 at 11:27 am

Happy to have happen upon your site through a referral from another evaluator.

Developing or filling out training evaluation tools has always disappointed me so I am keen on picking up tweaking ideas. I don’t want the paper they are printed on to be a waste. Also, any thoughts about a follow up Survey Monkey-type survey?

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