One of the most important tools that you have at your disposal as an instructional designer or eLearning developer is user feedback. With learner feedback, you gain the ability to fine tune your courses and online training modules, so that you can provide the most effective (and most engaging) learning experience possible. The question is…which tools will enable you to gather this all important user data in online training platforms?
Training surveys can be an invaluable asset when trying to determine the impact, overall design, and quality of content of your course or module. In this guide, we’ll share some tips for how to create online training surveys that will enable you to get feedback and take action to make your LMS courses polished and perfected.
1. Keep the training survey concise and clear.
It’s important to not only keep the questions brief and to the point, but to use language that is simple and straightforward. You have to keep in mind that a variety of different users are going to taking the survey, so avoid using specialized jargon or complicated wording. Also, you’ll want to steer clear of being too verbose. Never make your questions longer than a sentence or two, if possible. Lastly, you’ll want to keep the survey, itself, as short as possible. Try to aim on less than twenty or thirty questions, as any more than that will tend to make the employee lose interest. Remember, they may be pressed for time, and simply may not be able to complete a lengthy survey.
2. Make the grading scale easy to understand.
Don’t make the grading scale within the survey too complicated to understand. For example, it’s often better to ask the user to rate their answers on a scale from 1 to 5, rather than 1 to 10. Also, keep your grading scale the same all throughout the course. For instance, you wouldn’t want to ask them to rate their experience on a scale of 1 to 5 in question one, then suddenly switch to a question where they are asked to “strongly agree” or “strongly disagree”. The key to an effective survey is clarity and uniformity.
3. Only add one general comment box at the end of the survey.
Don’t fill the survey with a variety of comment boxes that are mandatory. Users may not have a comment or suggestion for every question, so creating a mandatory text box will only become a distraction. Instead, just include one general comment box at the bottom of the survey where employees can leave their training feedback or any additional suggestions they might have. If you do choose to include comment boxes throughout, then make them optional.
4. Focus on survey questions that are relevant and helpful to the course’s design.
You will want to concentrate on questions that are geared toward assessing your course design and course content. Steer clear of questions that aren’t relevant or won’t provide you with the feedback you’re looking for. Remember, the shorter the survey the better. If there are only 5 relevant questions that you can think of at the moment, then simply create a short survey that targets the areas you are most concerned about within your training course.
5. Improve weak points by asking targeted questions.
If you have a few areas that you think you may need to work on within your training course or module, focus on those while you are creating the survey. Ask questions that can help you to figure out you can improve the user’s experience and pinpoint sections that may need to be fine tuned. As an instructional designer, it can often be challenging to see your courses from the employee or learners point of view. However, these surveys will allow you to determine where your weak points are, so that you can work on tweaking your design, content, or layout in your LMS.
6. Avoid multifaceted survey questions.
Try to keep your questions as simple as possible, and avoid writing questions that are multifaceted. For example, “if you scored below 60 percent on the last module, do you believe that there are key components of the section that can be improved to help raise your score?” may be too complicated. On the other hand, “on a scale of 1 to 5, how effective was the last training module?” might be a better option. This is because it doesn’t require the employee to think about multiple ideas at once and focuses on one key issue.
7. Include effective statements.
Instead of asking questions throughout the entire survey, try to write statements that can be answered with a yes or no response. For instance, “The training provided in section 4 offered helpful information about POS transactions” is a statement that can be answered quickly and allow you to determine if section 4 is allowing employees to learn about the point of sale procedures.
8. Try not to include questions regarding personal information.
If at all possible, stray away from questions pertaining to personal information, such as their name, age, or marital status. While these questions might help you to collect demographical information, it can also deter employees from taking the survey. Often people will be annoyed or uneasy about these questions, and in some cases it may even be unethical or illegal. Not to mention that people often like to complete surveys with some sort of anonymity, and asking personal questions defeats that purpose.
9. Give a brief explanation for why the survey is so important.
Either at the beginning or the end, thank the user for taking the survey and explain why the information you are collecting via the survey is so important. Let them know that it will be used to improve the training module and that the data gathered will allow the organization to further enhance their training efforts.
What thought have you got on training surveys? Share them in the comments!
Originally published on: 24 Jul 2014