Analyzing Pilot Group Feedback to Improve Your Online Course

A pilot program is the secret tool to securing that your online training can accomplish its objective. If you haven’t heard of it before, a pilot program is a small-scale version of your course that runs with a small group who provide feedback about any issues or potential improvements before you launch the course to its intended audience.

The goal of a pilot program is to compile feedback from the group regarding the course. We previously talked about how important pilot programs are and how to select the right pilot group. But all of this would be a waste if you don’t have a plan for implementing the feedback you gathered from your group. So now, we’re diving into the steps you’ll need to follow in order to make the best possible course based on the feedback shared by your participants.

6 Steps To Implementing Pilot Group Feedback Into Your Course

Collect the Feedback

The first step for successful pilot group feedback is deciding exactly what you want to learn about your program. This starts with the selection process for your pilot group. Careful selection ensures the feedback you collect is relevant to your intended audience.

You also want to come up with evaluation questions to help participants provide helpful feedback. Include questions about technical aspects and functionality, course content, and real-life scenarios to get a range of applicable feedback.

Review the Feedback

Once the pilot group has submitted their feedback, clean it up and review it in detail. This is typically done via mandatory surveys at the end of the course, so plan for getting the answers in spreadsheets or fillable forms you can easily compare.

Ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of the feedback, including the context and underlying reasons behind each piece of feedback. If necessary, contact participants with follow-up questions.

At Talance, we use what we call an evaluation meeting. During the evaluation meeting, we talk through feedback and impressions and decide what’s relevant, irrelevant and useful but more appropriate for a future update to the course. Here’s how we define each category:

Relevant. Relevant feedback pertains to errors or technical issues, good ideas from learners, something forgotten in the planning phases, or adjusting the length of the course.

Irrelevant. Just because there’s a lot of feedback doesn’t mean you need to implement it. Not all suggestions meet the goals and objectives of a course, so feel free to disregard them. Sometimes, the feedback may be better suited for a different training project.

Nice to have. If the budget allows, and it fits with the objectives of the course, add it. Or table it for a future training project or course update. 

We recommend reviewing the course every six months, depending on your needs, and seeing if you can implement the changes during this phase. 

Another consideration is the fact that some changes could be expensive or time-consuming to add. If they don’t impact the course’s ability to meet its objectives, they probably belong on the back burner.

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Organize the Feedback

Organize the pilot group feedback into different categories, such as positive, negative, or feedback about the course content, structure, assessments, technical elements, etc. Use an Excel sheet or any other tool that makes it easier to keep track of comments and group them by category or urgency.

Organizing feedback will help you identify common themes and patterns. Analyze comments in each category and look for emerging commonalities. For example, you may notice that multiple participants had difficulty with a particular assessment or that several participants praised a specific aspect of the course.

Develop an Action Plan

Your previous analysis will help you prioritize based on the frequency and impact of the feedback for the pilot group. Once you have an idea of what needs to be addressed, it’s time to develop an action plan.

Identify specific changes you must make to the course to address the feedback. In the example about the assessment, you may need to re-evaluate the assessment and make necessary changes to improve it.

Implement Changes

In the implementation phase, you’ll partner with your LMS administrator to make the changes you identified from the pilot group feedback.

Once these changes have been made, it’s time to review the course in what we call QA, or quality assurance, which is a thorough review for you to confirm that everything meets your agreed-upon standards.

Evaluate the Changes

Once you implement the changes, your course is ready to go out to the broader audience. Depending on the extent of the changes made during the pilot phase, it’ll be worth monitoring participant comments and their experience throughout the course in case there are any glaring issues.

A Course Will Only Be as Effective as Your Plan for Addressing the Pilot Group Feedback

So you’re considering — or already embarked on — a pilot program for your course. Kudos! Now is when the real work begins. A pilot program is only effective if you make the best out of your participants’ feedback.

At Talance, we always recommend including a pilot phase to improve your online training. Especially when launching new courses or working with audiences that may not have experience with online learning.

Book a consultation now to learn more about how we can help you develop online training programs to meet your staff’s unique needs.

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