In the earlier post we looked at some of the recommendations for increasing the response rates for the evaluation of your training programs. Now, let’s look at a few more suggestions:
Use an Appropriate Time and Format for Evaluation
Most training professionals find that when it came to ILTs, response rates are highest when evaluations are given out in class, a few minutes before the end of the session. Scannable paper-based evaluations are particularly effective. This ensures typical response rates between 95-100%. Once the participants leave the training session and are asked to fill them out online later, the response rate is likely to come down dramatically.
For online courses, it is best to have online evaluations (using Zoomerang, SurveyMonkey among others). It has also been found that response rates are highest when the evaluation is linked to a certificate of completion. Once participants complete the survey, they can print out their certificate (linked together within the LMS). However, a counter point of view is that an enforced participation might not produce an objective evaluation. In which case, it might be better to get responses from a sample group of the participants, in such a way that every role is represented in the sample.
An interesting variation is the use of evaluations on mobiles. If your employees can access email through their mobile devices, you can send them evaluations they can respond to on their mobiles.
Give Enough Time
Many times, especially in the case of ILTS, participants need to fly out shortly after the session ends or get back to work that has piled up in their absence. It might be a few days before they can get around to completing the online survey. Make sure that you keep the evaluation window open for a reasonable amount of time – 10 days at a minimum.
Mail reminders are popular, followed by mobile reminders. When using email reminders, you could even go one step further and give participants additional references or links to more information on the subject they were trained on in your reminder mails. This will make them more likely to read your mail and take the required action. If you are using an LMS, it is very easy to set up auto-generated notifications to be sent after course completion, two or three days before the deadline for the evaluation runs out and after a day or two after the deadline is over.
You could even have someone from upper management to send out at least 1 reminder (maybe the final one?).
Even the smallest of incentives is better than none. A gift card or a token gift or the participants’ name emblazoned on a coffee mug or maybe even a free coffee could be small investments organizations can make to get the required results.
Keep it Painless
Make sure the evaluation is short and easy to fill out. Letting participants know how long it will take to fill out the evaluation will motivate them to do it. Ideally, it shouldn’t take more than 2-3 minutes. Try and reduce text entry questions for additional comments. Stick to multiple choice questions or rating scales wherever possible.
Thank your participants once they provide their feedback. You could even let someone from upper management send a warm mail thanking them for taking the time to take the survey and letting them know that their feedback is going to be taken seriously for improving the quality of training.
Give your Feedback on their Feedback
You could send out a mail to participants who took the survey once you have actually implemented the changes suggested by them for improvement. This will increase your credibility and their motivation to give you feedback for other trainings as well. You could even make this a formal report in which you provide specific details of enhancements to the training program based on their feedback.
Reward Exceptional Ideas
If any of the participants come up with any exceptional suggestions, you might want to publicly acknowledge their contribution and consolidate their suggestions in a mail sent to all participants.
Thanks for reading this post. What are your recommendations for increasing the response rates for the evaluation of your training programs? Do share your experience.