Course Feedback: The Best Ways to Ask for It (& Why You Should)

If you want your course to give the best possible learning experience to your team, you’ll need to read their minds. How does that work? Course feedback.

If you’re interested in getting feedback from learners, stakeholders and others to improve your course, now is when you should launch a plan to ask for it.

Read on to learn:

  • What course feedback is
  • Why feedback is so important
  • Ways to get feedback
  • How to organize feedback
  • Prioritizing feedback
  • Improving your course with feedback

What Course Feedback Is

Course feedback refers to the opinions, comments and evaluations provided by learners and other stakeholders who completed a particular course. It’s a way for participants to express their thoughts about the course content, teaching methods, instructor effectiveness and overall learning experience.

Course feedback can take various forms, such as surveys, questionnaires, online reviews, evaluations, focus groups and direct discussions with instructors or facilitators.

Why Feedback Is So Important

If you want to deliver the best course possible to your learners, feedback will let you fine-tune your project. You’ll use the data you collect to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses in the course design, teaching methods and curriculum.

Asking for feedback can keep your administrators, instructors and even yourself engaged and on target. If the goal is to find out what you’re doing well (or not so well), then feedback is a way to keep your team moving toward that goal.

For example, course feedback can help point out areas where the instructor’s explanations may have been unclear or where certain topics require additional clarification or examples to enhance learner understanding.

Getting more people involved in your project is better. Asking for and acting on feedback shows that you care and that creates a better experience for everyone.

Ways To Get Feedback

  1. Online surveys
  2. In-class discussions
  3. Focus groups
  4. End-of-course evaluation
  5. One-on-one conversations

There are many ways to collect feedback on your course, including focus groups as part of a needs assessment process or an evaluation completed at the end of the program.

Have a look at each one in more depth.

  1. Online surveys
  2. In-class discussions
  3. Focus groups
  4. End-of-course evaluation
  5. One-on-one conversations

Online Surveys

Surveys can be sophisticated or simple. You can use platforms like Google Forms, Qualtrics, SurveyMonkey or some other survey tool that you might have already.

Design the survey to include questions about various aspects of the course, teaching methods, materials, and overall learning experience. Check out this list of 20 questions to ask when conducting a training needs analysis for some ideas.

In-class Discussions

You can dedicate course time to gathering feedback from active participants. You could do this in the middle of the course, after a big project, near the end of a course or whenever an issue comes up that you suspect you need to address.

It can also be live, as in via a web meeting or in a classroom, or it can be through a discussion forum or other tool. Either way, ask learners to share their thoughts on what worked well and what could be improved. This method also works for immediate clarification and follow-up.

Focus Groups

If you’re looking to give your training programs a boost, adding focus groups can provide the kinds of insights and feedback that give you a good return on investment. Gather a diverse group of would-be learners can gain a deeper understanding of what they need to learn, how they prefer to learn and where you can improve.

End-of-course Evaluation

Course evaluation be done in two parts:

  • Formative evaluation
  • Summative evaluation

Formative evaluation should happen while you’re developing the course. It’s designed to make sure you’re meeting all the learning objectives you set out to meet.

Summative evaluation happens at the end. This is for when the course is done and you’re looking for improvement suggestions.

Evaluations should be part of every course you offer no matter what. As tempting as it is to call a project “done” and stop soliciting feedback, don’t skip this step.

One-on-one Conversations

You can offer one-on-one or small group conferences with learners to discuss their experiences. This personalized approach can provide more in-depth insights into individual perspectives and allow for meaningful dialogue about improvements.

It’s also easier to engineer than a focus group.

How to Organize Feedback

When you’re done, you’ll find you have quite a bit of data. Think about how you’ll work through that and make it presentable for others. If you’re using survey software, these tools are probably built in.

Otherwise, here are some ideas for organizing feedback:

Categorize – such as on themes like course content, technical support, facilitator feedback

Quantitative vs. qualitative data – Differentiate between quantitative feedback (ratings, scales, numerical responses) and qualitative feedback (open-ended comments)

Create a summary – read and interpret the feedback. Create a summary or report that gets distributed to a larger group.

Prioritizing Feedback

You won’t want to waste time working on issues that no one cares about or that don’t relate to your program goals.

Prioritize it.

Think about creating a table with three columns divided into positive, neutral and negative to help yourself out. It will help to see everything laid out in a way you can quickly scan.

Loved the research activity in section twoDidn’t use technical supportInstructor never wrote back
This will also help you flag urgent issues. If any feedback indicates urgent issues, such as technical problems or concerns about course structure, address these right away. This shows learners that their feedback is valued and can lead to immediate improvements.

Improving Your Training Program with Feedback

Feedback is great for fine-tuning new training programs, polishing off courses, finding errors in old courses and giving you information you can use in the development of new courses in the future.

Reflect on the feedback you got, and also the kinds of feedback you wish you’d received, and this is an iterative process that will benefit you for years to come.

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