5 top tips for writing evaluation questions

We all know how important it is to get valuable feedback after running a course, and a high response rate is key to the reliability of that feedback. It has been reported that course evaluation questionnaires have a response rate of around 60%, but how many delegates just tick boxes to get their certificate and leave? Are the questions you’re asking really important and worthwhile? And are the options you’re providing too complicated or too simple to really be beneficial to you?

It’s crucial when creating an evaluation feedback form that you ask questions that you really want the answers to. Are you really going to change the things you’re asking about? To help you ask the right questions, we’ve created this list of 5 top tips for writing evaluation form questions.

1. Write questions that delegates want to answer

The purpose of giving feedback is to try and improve the service that you are giving feedback about. So A delegate wants to answer questions that actually affect them, things that they could actually change. If the venue of a course will always be the same or will never be used again, there is no point asking for feedback about it. If possible, anonymous forms are more likely to encourage delegates to be honest and not fear repercussions, which will give you more valuable feedback. Encourage delegates to give honest feedback as this is what will really help you to improve.

2. Keep it short

You may have a lot of questions to ask but no one wants to fill out an intimidatingly large feedback survey. Try and keep it to one page, but give delegates the option to write more with an “optional comment” box or give an email address/ phone number for delegates to contact you if they have a lot to say. If you must ask a lot of questions, split them into smaller sections such as venue, lecturer, course contents etc. This should make the form look less intimidating and easier to answer.

3. Choose the right types of questions

If you want to be able to create reports on the data you collect and summarise the information, using closed questions makes it much simpler. Although asking an open ended question is likely to get you a more detailed response, it would be difficult to collate all of this information and keep your delegates engaged if the whole survey was open ended questions. On average only 23.7% of people complete open ended questions in a survey which is extremely low when compared with the 94% response rate for completing all closed questions. Having said that, it is good practice to use at least one open ended question. Give the delegates a chance to voice their opinions openly, maybe as a general “optional comments” box at the end of the feedback form or at the end of each section.

4. Give the right amount of options

Generally, providing 3-5 options in response to a question gives much more valuable feedback. If you give too few options, such as “Yes/No” then the information collected is too generic. On the other hand, giving ten options can be too confusing and difficult to summarize. Using a Likert scale is a good way to get both informative and quantifiable answers whilst avoiding the risk of delegates “sitting on the fence” with their answers. 

5. Make evaluations available online

On average, there is a 10 x higher response rate for online evaluations as opposed to paper based. Making your course evaluation form available online using a digital system such as Maxcourse will make it much more convenient for your delegates to fill in, and gives them the flexibility to complete the evaluation when they want and how they want. Having the time to answer questions at their own convenience is likely to encourage delegates to think more carefully about their answers and give more valuable feedback.

Many students don’t realise that providing feedback is intended to improve the course they are evaluating. Improving the quality of your forms and making them more engaging and accesible for delegates is a great way to increase the quality and quantity of the feedback you get.

To learn more about using an online course management system to improve your course evaluation processes get in touch today by filling out our simple contact form.