Updating My Program Evaluation Form

Ken front1.jpg

A recent comment on an earlier posting prompts me to share thoughts on my program evaluation form. Let's make this like a workshop and you can participate with me. First I'll discuss my objectives in using a form, then some insights into the the reasoning behind the structure. Finally comes your part. Look at the form, then make suggestions for changes and improvements, or comment on how it looks from your perspective. Interested? Read on.

My Objectives

I am hoping to achieve two different goals from this Form. First I am looking for feedback on how well my workshop, seminar or lecture was received. I want to discover what needs to be done to be a better teacher, trainer, lecturer. Second, I want to establish links with the students in these learning groups. Can I do something to make the experience personally more beneficial? Can I follow up after the event to share ideas and opportunities they will benefit from? Can we identify areas where I can be of further service to them, and help grow my genealogy business?

Some Insights into Constructing the Survey

Years ago I read a number of articles on information chunking, memory and learning when I was studying psycholinguistics and second language learning. I recall an article by George Miller, a noted psychologist, "Magic Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two" , in which he suggests that the human brain can best digest information if it is clumped together in units of 7 (plus or minus two units). The units themselves may contain subunits (7 plus or minus 2) and the chunks of units may be grouped too. Who knows maybe because we have 5 fingers on a hand! So what this means is the survey, according to me, should have between five and nine questions. And questions with scales or options should have no more than 7 elements. In the Survey below, there are Seven Questions. The Rating Scale has 5 options. And the address form has just six elements.

My study of advertising design years ago also comes into this. I usually print these forms on a yellow paper, and never blue. Yellow supposedly stimulates thinking and blue is so restfull it puts you to sleep.

So here is the survey, ready for me to edit. I encourage you to share your comments, and critique this work in progress.

Program Evaluation Form

We appreciate your feedback on our presentations, and invite you to share your evaluation by circling the appropriate number on the rating scales of each question.

  1. How valuable were the ideas, concepts and program content?

4 3 2 1 0

Highly Mostly Fairly Slightly No value

  1. How effective was the presentation of the material?

4 3 2 1 0

Highly Mostly Fairly Slightly Totally ineffective

  1. How would you rate the program overall?

4 3 2 1 0

Excellent Very Good Good Fair Poor

4. Other Comments?

  1. May we use your comments for our promotional material?


  1. If you have any question about genealogy we did not discuss you would like to ask, write it here. I’ll try to answer you if you complete name and contact information below.

7. If you would be interested in receiving news about future genealogy education opportunities please complete the part below.

Prov/State_____Postal code____________ E-Mail:_______________________


This is not a perfect evaluation form. How can we improve it? I look forward to your comments and insights.


4 responses to “Updating My Program Evaluation Form

  1. Ken,
    Interesting start. Since you are changing the ratings for each question, eliminate the number. Let the person circle the word. If you enter this into a database to get stats, you can assign the numbers yourself as you enter the results.

    In the first two questions, personalize them by including “you” in the statement as you did in #3, perhaps by adding “to you” at the ending #1 & #2, although I wonldn’t suggest that that repetition be used.

    As I mentioned in my comments to an earlier thread on this subject, I like to leave space for comments on each question. With only seven questions, you would have the space.

    The space for comments could also be predicated with a further request for the type of feedback you would like. For instance, for Q#1, the lead-in could be “How could the content have been improved?” or “What would have made the workshop more valuable for you?” For Q#2, perhaps the lead-in could be “What was most effective for you about the presentation of the material?” or “What did you feel was least effective in the presentation of the material?” or “How could the presentation have been improved for you?” Since you are looking for comments that you can use for promotional material, the lead-in should be worded to solicit responses that could be used for that purpose, i.e. as word-bites {What is the term for the printed equivalent to “news sound-bites”.)

    In question #7, are you offering to provide information on future opportunities in general, or are these oppotunities you will be presenting? I also think the wording could be improved. I had to read the sentence a couple of times to get your meaning.

    In the address portion, I like to leave the whole line for e-mail addresses. Some of them seem to be getting really long these days. I also like to put City, Prov/state, and postal code on a separate line. (Perhaps you did and the blog formatting spoiled your efforts. If so, ignore this comment.)



  2. Ken,

    I can’t improve much on Bill’s comments, so I won’t.

    This caught my eye:

    Ken claimed:

    “My study of advertising design years ago also comes into this. I usually print these forms on a yellow paper, and never blue. Yellow supposedly stimulates thinking and blue is so restfull it puts you to sleep.”

    Ummm, interesting comment! My blog is all blue…wonder if that’s why my readers (all 4 of them) never comment? But then, yours is gray, which is probably second to blue in stimulating slumber.

    Just a thought! — Randy

  3. Hello Ken:
    I agree with Bill’s suggestions to eliminate the numbers and just have the words.

    I like the following terms that could be used for commenting on “How would you rate the program overall?” informative, stimulating, useful and irrelevant. – Would these terms be helpful to you as a presenter?


  4. Bush goes ballistic about other countries being evil and dangerous, because they have weapons of mass destruction. But, he insists on building up even a more deadly supply of nuclear arms right here in the US. What do you think? How does that work in a democracy again? How does being more threatening make us more likeable?Isn’t the country with
    the most weapons the biggest threat to the rest of the world? When one country is the biggest threat to the rest of the world, isn’t that likely to be the most hated country?
    What happened to us, people? When did we become such lemmings?
    The more people that the government puts in jails, the safer we are told to think we are. The real terrorists are wherever they are, but they aren’t living in a country with bars on the windows. We are.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s