The 10 most important training survey questions you should be asking your delegates

Most training providers would agree on the importance of collecting (and effectively actioning) feedback pre, during and post-training. It's good practice to continually review your feedback process, as well as the questions you're asking your delegates.

Could you be getting a higher response rate? Are your questions providing helpful, actionable steps for your team? Is your method of collection making it as simple as possible for your delegates to respond?

In this article we'll go through the benefits of collecting quality feedback, as well as the importance of timings and survey planning. We'll of course have lots of example questions for you to use in your own surveys, too.

The benefits of collecting quality feedback

There's a whole host of benefits that come along with collecting quality feedback from the delegates on your training courses. Some of the most important include:

  • Identifying opportunities to improve - accessplanit's annual benchmark report told us that 76% of training professionals see customer satisfaction as the biggest metric for success.
  • Empowering your learners - encouraging your delegates to suggest improvements builds loyalty and shows that you're continually looking to improve your offering. Even better - if you can show your long-term customers and delegates that you've actioned feedback that they've suggested, you'll have some very satisfied customers.
  • Unique ideas - sometimes, it takes someone from outside your business to identify gaps or room for improvement, as you're used to the way things are done day-to-day. Collecting insight on the full training experience means it's likely that your delegates will come up with some new suggestions that you haven't considered before. 
  • Tracking responses over time - benchmarking year-on-year, or even month-by-month, against your previous feedback responses is a great way to track trends in overall course performance. It's one of the reasons that quantitative feedback such as rating scales and closed-ended questions are so important to include.

When should feedback be collected?

Training feedback is, more often that not, focused on post-course activity. However it's as important to consider running pre-course surveys too, as you can compare the two. This can help to you measure metrics such as:

  • Pre-course expectations, and if these are met post-course
  • How effectively your marketing, messaging and course descriptions are understood by delegates and match intended course outcomes

How to plan your survey content

Whether you're starting your feedback survey or questionnaire from scratch or improving your existing ones, we recommend taking a few things into consideration when planning:

What is the purpose of your survey? Evaluation forms can provide a vast range of information about your training as a whole. Some of it will be relevant, and some may be less important. Defining your goals and measurable will ensure the questions you're asking align with your objectives.

How are you collecting your feedback? You may have the best survey in the training world, but if you're giving them out as delegates are rushing out the door to get home, you may not get the response rate you're looking for. Make sure you give your delegates the opportunity to give quality feedback!

How are your structuring your survey? Consider the flow of your survey - you'll want to start of with quick, easy-to-answer questions to ease your delegates in, before moving into open-ended and more complex feedback. Our free downloadable training survey templates are an ideal place to start.

Pre-course surveys

Pre-course surveys are an important feedback tool as you can discover your delegates' interests and learning styles, their expectations for the course, and current level of knowledge/skill. They're a great way to measure the impact of your training.

Here are our top 5 most important questions to be asking your delegates before they start their course:

What are you hoping to get out of this course?

This is our pick for the most important question you should be asking your delegates before their training starts. This question can help you to understand why this delegate (or company) has decided to train with you, what they're trying to achieve, and what their general expectations are for the course.

What made you choose this course?

This question will help you further uncover the motivations of your delegates, and what details stood out to them in the course information. Perhaps you're offering a module others aren't, or you have great quality, industry-leading trainers. 

How would you rate your current understanding of [topic]?

This is a great question to ask pre-course, as your trainers can review the answers before they start their session - it'll give them an idea of the level of understanding in the group as a whole. It's also a great measurable for the delegate (and you) if you ask this after the course to compare, too!

How do you learn most effectively?

Again, your trainers will be able to take the answers to this question into consideration when running their sessions. It would also a positive reflection of the level of care and detail your training business has - your delegates will feel listened to and understood.

Have you taken any course within [industry] prior to this one?

This question can help you to understand the journey that your delegates are on - what steps they have made already to improve their understanding within this area. It will help you to uncover what their motivations are, and where they are in their learning journey. It could also help your training business to see what other topics within that particular industry your delegate is interested in - and what courses you could recommend to them next.

During and post-course surveys

Surveys during training may not always be appropriate, depending on the length of the course. However, if you run sessional courses over a few days, or even spaced out over weeks, it could be really beneficial for your training business to gauge overall satisfaction and training effectiveness throughout the course.

Of course, all training courses can benefit from quality post-course surveys, no matter the length or duration of the course.

We've shortlisted the most important questions you should be asking your delegates during and post-course:

What were your three key take-aways from the session?

This is a great way to understand what has stuck with your delegates from their training sessions. It's important to identify these key learning moments, as you can build on what has been a success, and add in more engaging, practical tasks for the information that hasn't been mentioned in your feedback. Asking your delegates to think about the three most important takeaways from their training session is also a great extra learning tool! It reinforces their learning through memory recall.

Did the training meet your expectations? / How did the course compare to what you expected?

This question links back to the pre-course question regarding expectations, as it's a great tool to be able to measure what the delegate's expectations were vs. if those expectations were met. It'll allow you to discover if you've positioned the course correctly with your marketing, and if the course details come across correctly in your messaging.

What one thing would you change about this training session? / Do you have any suggestions to improve this course?

Effective surveys allow delegates to submit both positive and negative feedback. Without constructive criticism, you risk large gaps in your feedback in terms of what can be improved in the overall course experience. It could highlight something you've never considered before.

What training would you be interested in undertaking next?

Providing they've had a great experience with your training business, asking your delegates what they would like to learn about next is a huge opportunity to recommend relevant courses that would benefit their learning journey. You may find that they are interested in a range of topics; something completely different to the training they've just completed!

How likely would you be to recommend this training course to a friend or colleague?

It is one of the most popular (and important) questions to ask in a feedback survey! You've probably already heard of Net Promoter Score (NPS), but if you haven't already, here's a quick rundown: on a scale of 1-10, delegates who rate your training courses a 9 or 10 are considered "promoters" of your training business. These are going to be the delegates that tell their peers how great your training courses are! On the other end, anything under 7 is considered a "detractor" - these delegates may unfortunately spread the world that they haven't had the best experience with you. It's important to follow up with scores at either end of the spectrum.

Creating your survey

Online tools such as SurveyMonkey are used by some training professionals, however, training and learning management software such as accessplanit have their own survey-builder within the software. This saves any hassle moving data between multiple platforms, and as soon as your survey is created it's ready to distribute! The answers are then collected and stored against delegate records for reference.

Having your survey builder within your training management software is also so useful for boosting response rates - you can set up workflows to remind delegates to complete their survey at the right time, as part of your feedback collection strategy.

For inspiration, download our free training feedback survey template, which can be instantly sent, printed, edited or copied and pasted into your online survey tool of choice.

If you're looking for more tips to improve your surveys, we've also created a FREE downloadable 'Ultimate Guide to Training Surveys' to help you out!

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