Training Evaluation Form

Using a Training Evaluation Form to Collect Trainee Feedback

One of the most effective ways to jumpstart your expertise in a new job, skill, tool, or software is by having an expert train you.

Unfortunately, some trainings turn out to be very unhelpful. In these cases it’s clear the training session has been put on autopilot and left to slowly deteriorate. We’ve all been stuck in these trainings, which we instantly classify as a waste of our time.

But with the right training evaluation form in place you can make sure that your trainings stay in the “highly effective” category and never slip into the “waste of time” category.

Designing a Training Evaluation Form

Regardless of a form’s content, it will perform best if you design it with its ultimate goal in mind. The more specific the goal, the better the form will be.

Before you write a single question, ask yourself a few key questions:

  • What do you hope to achieve by having people complete this form?
  • What actions do you plan to take based on the data you collect?
  • How will you use each question to make future trainings better?

At their core, training forms are in fact similar to product feedback or customer satisfaction surveys, with the training session or seminar acting as the product and the trainee filling the role of the customer. Like these other feedback forms, training evaluation forms are ways to improve training sessions and provide more value to trainees.

The old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is very applicable to these kinds of forms. Keeping the form goal-oriented will alleviate the pain of wading through lots of data with no idea where to start to derive meaningful conclusions.

Questions to Ask About Your Training

Training evaluation forms can quickly become long or monotonous if you use a scale of 1-10 for (too) many questions. The best way to get a high response rate is to keep it simple.

A good guide to simplicity is to stick the the 5W’s + 1 H:

  • WHO was the trainer
  • WHAT were they training on
  • WHERE did the training occur
  • WHEN did they training take place (when applicable)
  • WHY where you satisfied or not satisfied
  • HOW could we make trainings better?

Focusing on the 5Ws+1H will create a form that gather a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data.

The quantitative questions (e.g. “On a scale of 1-10…”) will work as an easy way to aggregate overall satisfaction with the trainings and determine how valuable they are to the trainees. They also offer a quick an easy way to track changes in form responses over time.

Qualitative questions, in which you ask for comments and suggestions for improvement, come in the form of open text questions. While they are not as easy to draw conclusions from because they require a human to read through each response (or a really smart AI robot), the additional effort is worth the time.

These responses can act as a map towards better trainings because they offer direct insight into individual’s reactions to training. And you don’t even have to spring for a high priced consultant!

Distributing Training Evaluation Forms

The key is to get as much feedback as quickly as possible following a training session. The method of distributing your form should vary depending on where and how the training took place.

When conducting online training webinars the form should automatically be presented to the trainee upon completion of the session. On-site and in-person trainings benefit from distributing the form at the conclusion of each training session, either electronically or on paper.

If you give respondents a chance to fill out the form later then your response rate will suffer. Using a QR code or emailing a link to trainees and asking them to fill out the form prior to leaving the training area works to ensure they give feedback while the training is still fresh in their minds.

Offering an incentive (like candy or gift cards) never hurts, but it can skew your data by reducing negative, honest responses.

Another alternative is to print out your form and give a physical copy to each trainee and have them turn it in before leaving the training, although this requires trainers to manually enter in their data into the online version of the form. Printed forms require additional manual effort but will save hours of time and effort when analyzing the data using SurveyGizmo’s reporting options.

Working with Results From Training Evaluation Forms

Quantitative data can be quickly aggregated to provide an overall view of how the training went. It will take more time to read through all the qualitative questions will take more time but give more insight.

It is not a hard and fast rule, but there are benefits to delegating the analysis of form data to someone who did not lead or work on the training session. Employing another person or party allows them to work objectively with the data, which can lead to more actionable conclusions and suggestions on how to implement improvements based on feedback.

Regardless of your review mechanism, keep in mind that one negative evaluation form doesn’t mean the entire training is flawed. Take each response seriously, but use some investigative power to make sure there aren’t extenuating circumstances at the heart of an unusually harsh form.

Conclusion: Training Feedback is a Time Saver

By creating a simple, easy-to-use training evaluation form and distributing it wisely, you can continually improve your training sessions. Then you can run them with the confident that you’re providing value to those who are learning new skills and never becoming a waste of anyone’s time.