Another Look at My Program Evaluation Form

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I’ve been tinkering with my program evaluation form to see what what could be simplified, added, removed etc. The purpose of the evaluation form is to provide feedback to me the speaker concerning a variety of factors impacting on my effectiveness. I am thinking about changing the rating scale questions to something like this:

“On a 10 –1 scale (10 high, 1 low) I would rate …

… the speaker as ___ because _____________________________________________ …the content as ___ because ____________________________________________ and the delivery as ___ because ____________________________________________”

I recently included an open ended question, “What would you tell a friend about this program?” My intent was to gather some great compliments. It backfired. I go a lot of responses like “Yes” which is a less-than-meaningful answer.

What got results was the “Other Comments?” space where there were many useful suggestions and praise.

I will be adding another section. “If you have a question that we did not resolve today, please write it here along with your name and email address, and I’ll try to answer it shortly.”. This worked so well for two of my appearances in March, I think its a winner.

I am also toying with the idea of a monthly e-based newsletter for those attending my lectures, so will add a line that says, “if you are interested in receiving Ken’s monthly e-mail newsletter, just add your name and email address below.” However, I havebeen usingthis which also seems to work, "If you would be interested in receiving notices of our future genealogy education opportunities please add your name and email address below."

When I get it done, i'll test it out again and share it with you. Meanwhile, what do you think?

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5 responses to “Another Look at My Program Evaluation Form

  1. Ken,

    The obvious message here is to avoid Yes/No type questions, eh?

    I like the rating system, and your three rating categories (speaker, content, delivery) are OK, although speaker and delivery would be hard to differentiate between for some. The written reasons for the ratings are valuable.

    They obviously misread your attempt at getting written responses with your “What would you tell a friend about this program?” It’s a good question. Perhaps a better one (and one that wouldn’t get a Yes/No response) is “What is the most useful information you heard today?”

    What would you put into an email newsletter that you wouldn’t put on your blog? It seems to me that if you got these folks reading your blog on a regular basis that they would come out way ahead. I know I have!

    Cheers — Randy

  2. Why would I have both a blog and a newsletter? Excellant question. A blog is passive advertising. Bloggers wait for readers to come. Certainly there are assorted feeds like RSS and Bloglines that readers can use to pick up my latest postings. About 46% of my readers get word of new postings using bloglines. But about 24% are clicking in directly at present.

    For an active, push technology, the e-mail newsletter is good. It can be focussed, personalized and get in the door easier.

    “Genealogy Education” is aimed a genealogy educators. The newletter would be directed at ordinary genealogists and have a different content more suited to a broader audience. And it would be aimed at promoting my other services in a different way.

  3. Ken, one rule of thumb for rating-type questions is to have a small number and an even number. For instance, why have 10 levels? can you honestly tell the difference between 6 and 7? If you have an even number of choices, then you force your student to take a postitive or negative side. I’d propose 4 categories. I’d take the ‘becauses’ out of the rating area. I’d also have the student rate his/her level of genealogy background.
    I think Newsletters are an outstanding idea and a great way to keep in touch with students. I don’t see any overlap with this website.

    I love your question about ‘what would you tell a friend’ and am puzzled as why it didn’t generate more response.

    The ‘anything unresolved” question is great, too.

  4. Desta raises a good point. A scale in a questionnaire should not exceed 7, and 4 or 5 would be very good. Thanks for the insight.

  5. In using feedback forms at a variety of Toastmasters conferences [my ohter passion], I get better response rates if you provide the numbers which the attendee can circle vs fill in a blank with a number. (I’m not sure why.)

    Adding a space below the question for the person to provide comments allows those few who want to add their remarks to to so. Again, most have an aversion to writing, unless they have a strong opinion at one end of the scale or the other.

    I personally dislike questionnaires with a scale that I can’t enter a neutral response if I deem it appropriate. If the option is not provided, I will leave these questions unanswered.

    I have found quite a few respondents are also of the same opinion from my experience, to the point that some will start responding until they encounter this situation, and stop providing any further comments below the question.

    I personaly use a 1 to 5 scale. I will also add N/A if I think it may be an appropriate response. (N/A = not applicable.) Generally this is used very judiciously. I always keep the scale low at left and high at right. Many people have used forms in this arrangement and may circle the responses without reading the fine print, especially if they are in a hurry – such as at a conference. I found out about this after I received a set of response forms from a conference workshop I delivered. I got mostly 1s, but on some I got mostly 5s – nothing in between! Several people, including a few friends, put their names on the forms. I contacted them, and they said that they had filled out the form and assumed “excellent on right, poor on left” – irrespective of the numbers used and the instructions.

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