Need to create a post-course evaluation?

If you've been tasked with designing an e-learning course, one of the things you may need to do is develop a post-course evaluation. That's actually what prompted me to write this blog post: a community member posted saying he needs to create his first end-of-course survey, and was looking for suggestions and information from others. I wrote him a pretty detailed reply, and thought it would make a nice post that other newbies might use as a reference to learn from.

What is a post-course evaluation, anyway?

A post-course evaluation is a document distributed to participants at the end of a training course. It has questions designed to help you gather information about how the learners felt about the course, and how much they feel they learned. One important thing to be aware of is that post-course evaluations tend to measure participants opinions and their personal feelings about an e-learning course, not the actual amount of learning that occurred, or how the business was impacted by training. To measure the impact of training on an organizations bottom line, you'd need to take some other steps, which I explore in a separate article.

That aside, you can still glean some insight into what your participants liked and didn't like about your e-learning course, and how satisfied they feel with it, by administering a post-course evaluation. With the data you collect through this evaluation, you should be able to improve that course and future course designs.

What tools are available to create post-course evaluations?

There are some well-known free (and some not free) survey tools available online, notably SurveyMonkey and Google Docs (Build an Online Survey Using Google Docs). These applications allow you to easily create a survey and insert various question types, and then notify you by e-mail (or some other way) when people respond to your survey.

These survey tools also allow you to easily look at and gather the results of your survey. There are some interesting forum discussions about people who have the most common tools for post-course evaluation purposes: Survey Reporting Question, Advice on Creating an Evaluation Form.

What questions should be included in a post-course evaluation?

Common questions that are often included in post-course evaluations include:

  • Did you like the training?
  • Were the learning objectives met?
  • What topics should be added or omitted?

The above-mentioned questions can give you some insight, however, it's important to also ask the following types of questions:

  • Rate your level of confidence with the new skills acquired on a scale of 1-10
  • How do you feel you can apply what you've learned on the job?
  • Do you have a task in the near future that allows you to apply the new skill/knowledge?
  • Identify a specific work situation where you will apply what you've learned

These questions address actual performance and application of the new knowledge and skills, which should always be the end goal of any training. Having these answers should give you a bit more information about how the training will actually impact the business and the bottom line. 

More helpful information about post-course evaluations

There is a wealth of information on the Internet about post-course evaluations, and here are a few handy links that I think contain some helpful information: 

Hopefully, with this information about post-course evaluations, you'll feel more confident to create your own! And if you do, I'd love to see your templates or examples in the forum sometime!

Ashley Chiasson
Jonathon Miller
Christian Clausen
Andrew Wills
Anand Chandarana