Tell Me the Truth: Why We Need Your Training Evaluation


Imagine you just spent three long days in class. You have a ton of email waiting for you. Thoughts of working late for the next few days to catch up are running through your head. Just when you think you’ll be free from class the instructor says: “I know we ran a little long. But, please take a few minutes to complete the training evaluation I’ll be passing around.”

You think: “Gah! Really?! How many times have I filled out this very same evaluation?”

The class you just finished could have been better. But nothing has ever been done with your feedback before to your knowledge. So why should you take the next 5-7 minutes to give honest, constructive feedback? It would take less time to just circle “good” down the list of questions and turn it in. Then you can back to your real work!

The feedback you provide in a training evaluation is more important than you think. Let me explain why.

Here’s why you should take the time to complete the training evaluation.

Do it for you

  1. It is hard to help an instructor get better if all the feedback says the class was good. Likewise, it’s hard to improve class content if the instructor thinks it is ‘good’.
  2. If the TD team can’t show the training helped you do something better, there’s no solid business case for next year’s budget. Training is nearly always the first budget cut. It is also the hardest to defend. Your feedback can provide at least a little data to support why the training is worth the investment.
  3. Typically less than 50% of people complete the evaluation. Think of the most outspoken, obnoxious person in your class. Do you want him/her to speak on your behalf about the value of the class?

Do it for them

  1. Its hard for the TD team to know if something offensive happened if you don’t tell them. And, they will probably need that in writing. Real life offensive things we’ve heard about from students in information technology (IT) classes through evaluation comments: instructors talked about smoking pot, stereotypes about religious groups, sexist comments about women. With written feedback we very easily made sure that instructor didn’t return.
  2. It can be a grueling job to teach a class. But there is nothing that makes an instructor’s day and makes it all worth it better than a comment like, “This class has changed the way I look at things.”

So the next time you consider circling “good” down the list of evaluation questions remember: It was your time spent in the class and you deserve to be heard. While some TD teams are guilty of not using evaluation data, the TD team that is prepared to use the data can’t help you if they don’t have data.

Dana Sims is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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Gary Cordeiro

In the military scenario, because of the mandatory nature of doing business, participation is mandatory and the feedback is very effective. Another common resource is the after action report completed after mission completion. As a former trainer for deploying troops, timely information is critical and necessary for mission success. Treat all things as if you were preparing for combat in every situation and your team will succeed.