Why Post-Class Evaluations Are The Key To Growth
Have you ever gotten one of those “how did we do?” surveys from your favorite restaurant, your auto-body shop, or your doctor’s office? If you have, you likely understand that businesses and learning institutions tend to clamor for feedback whenever they can get it. Why is this?
Simply put, constant feedback keeps businesses on track with what their customers want, and it helps learning institutions focus on what students view as important. Nobody wants to learn how to send a fax in a modern computing class, and no one wants to keep getting emails about how great the Playstation 2 is, since the 5 has just come out. Keeping on track and on-trend is how to stay relevant, profitable, and growing. Post-class evaluations give the students a voice, making them feel listened to as well.
How to Create Helpful Class Evaluations
An excellent way to make sure evaluations get done properly is to use visual cues. We have an entire article on the subject available here, but in short: visuals cues means using the same fonts, colors, images and overall style to organize the information and data you present; AND the questions you ask. If all the questions about a section have the same font and color scheme, it can help create a connection between them in the mind of the learner.
It is also a good idea to use the lesson plan you created at the beginning of the course when considering its end, and the questions you want to ask about it.
Sample Evaluation Questions
Sample questions typically fall under these broader subjects. Each subject will have a few questions you can pull from, but it will probably be better for you to consider the subject umbrellas when you are trying to create your own evaluation form. We have a more detailed list of questions available here, if the ones below aren’t enough for you.
Instructor Specific Questions
If the type of lessons used focused heavily on a presenter or instructor, getting feedback on how that individual did their job will be valuable. These questions should focus on their teaching methodology, their tone of voice and delivery of information, the clarity of instruction, if they were able to establish a rapport with the student, and so on.
- How well did the instructor prepare for class each lesson?
- How efficiently did the instructor use your time?
- Did your interest in the subject matter increase as the instructor taught?
- Did the instructor communicate quickly and answer questions promptly?
- Did you receive helpful feedback from the instructor?
- Was the instructor available to offer additional help to you?
- Did the instructor care about the students, their success, and their growth?
- Did the instructor treat students with respect and care?
Course Structure, Materials and Flow
How the information in a given class is laid out can have a significant impact on a learner’s ability to comprehend the information. Everything from the length of each segment to the types of media used to deliver the information can be a factor; so asking the students what worked and what didn’t is a must.
- Was the course engaging, entertaining, and instructive?
- Would you recommend a friend take this course?
- Did the various teaching tools, assignments and readings complement each other?
- Was the workload assigned from this course manageable?
- Were you graded fairly?
Student Engagement, Learning, and Outcomes
Simplistic as it might seem, asking a student at the end of a course if they feel like they learned anything can be a helpful watermark for the success of a class.
- Did you attend class regularly, and were you engaged when you did so?
- Did you enjoy this course?
- Did you learn everything from it that you expected to?
- Did this course challenge you?
- Did this course teach you things you need to know to be successful?
Though more difficult to process and review, getting open-ended feedback can also provide a litany of different data points to use when evaluating and improving a course. The previous questions can all be set to be answered in a multiple choice format, making their review easy and quantifiable.
- What specifically would you change about this course to improve it?
- How did the length of the lessons affect your learning? Would you shorten or lengthen any one in particular?
- What was the biggest obstacle to your learning?
- If you were teaching this course, what is one thing you would change? What would you keep exactly the same?
- If there was another more advanced version of this course, what would you expect it to include?
How to Analyze The Feedback From Your Class Evaluations
Once you’ve gotten the questions answered, what do you do with them? The simple answer is to listen. Take what is said with a few grains of salt, but if you detect a theme in the responses, make sure to listen to that and take it into account when designing the next iteration of the course.