Tip #730: MUCH Better Evaluation Questions
“Information useful to training professionals typically relates to Levels 1 and 2. You want to ensure that the training resulted in learning, and ultimately, that participants are ready to perform on the job. “ James D. Kirkpatrick
For years I have asked the same questions for participants to rate Kirkpatrick’s Level One- Reaction:
Personal Significance of Workshop
- Of the ideas, concepts and/ or techniques covered, which do you consider to be of the most use to you?
- List one or two ways in which you can apply something learned during this training experience to your current situation.
Quality of Presentation
- Please comment on the method of facilitation (i.e. use of audio visuals; mix of lecture, group and individual work; sufficiency of time for questions and discussion; value of group exercises, etc.)
- What was your overall impression of the facilitators? (Please consider such areas as the handling of group discussion; interaction with group; knowledge of subject; general pace of instruction; degree of openness, spontaneity, and humor.)
III. General comments
They’re not bad questions and they’ve provided useful feedback.
The first two questions are supported (and the last two disregarded) in a blog by Wendy Kirkpatrick. She suggests that “instead of asking what people liked most and least about training, which is interesting but not really that important, ask instead what part of the training they believe they will use in their work, and how. If they cannot describe how they will use what they learned in their work, you have a problem. Perhaps the training isn’t relevant to them. Or perhaps you didn’t show them clearly why it is relevant to their work. Or, they don’t feel confident to do what is asked, or you have not convinced them of the importance.”
She recommends that we ask honest questions that are not guaranteed to garner positive responses and offered free samples of their Blended Evaluation Plan® Form. The Kirkpatricks provide permission to pull items from the forms to build evaluation forms for our own programs. So of course, I downloaded the samples and found some wonderful questions to use. These questions are rated on a 10-point scale. (For some reason, the Kirkpatricks chose to use a 10 point scale. I tend to think that too wide a range of rating choices can water down the results, so I would hope that the questions would work just fine with a shorter [5 or 7-point] Likert scale.)
Here are the questions that I really like:
- The class environment helped me to learn.
- I was engaged with what was going on during the program.
- The activities and exercises aided in my learning.
- I was given adequate opportunity to practice what I was learning.
- I will be able to immediately use what I learned.
- The program material will contribute to my future success.
- I would recommend this program to my co-workers.
And then they ask for comments to expand on any or all of the ratings to the questions above.
If you prefer more open-ended questions, the Kirkpatricks offer these:
- From what you learned, what will you be able to apply on your job? (What an honest and brave question to ask, don’t you think? Although I’d rephrase this to directly ask “what will you apply on your job?”)
- What assistance or resources will you need to successfully apply what you learned on the job?
- How confident are you that you will be able to apply what you have learned back on the job?(Here they go back to the 10 point scale).
- How committed are you to applying what you learned at your work? (The rating scale again).
- What outcomes are you hoping to achieve as a result of your efforts? (This question would really require the participants to think!)
- What other feedback would you like to share?
I highly recommend that you read Ms. Kirkpatrick’s blog and review the sample questions at https://www.kirkpatrickpartners.com/Blog/ID/892/How-Honest-is-Your-Evaluation.
I plan to make some changes to the questions I now ask at the end of every training day!
May your learning be sweet.