Start Worrying (A Lot) More About Level 1

I generally consider Level 1 evaluation forms to be a waste of time and energy, so when I read Todd Hudon’s The Lean CLO Blog post this week, Stop Worrying About Level 1, I cheered and said YES! And…

Todd’s point is right on. The most valuable learning experiences are generally uncomfortable moments and generally not even in the training room. Even in the training room, trainers can often tell by observing their audience’s behavior (not by using an evaluation form) when participants are engaged.

The best argument I can think of for Level 1 feedback is that it provides institutional memory. What happens if you – the rock star training facilitator of the organization – win the lottery and retire to your own private island in the Caribbean tomorrow? Or perhaps something more likely happens – you need to deliver the same presentation a year from now. Will you be able to remember the highlights (and the sections of your lesson that need to be changed)?

This point was brought home to me earlier this week when a co-worker was asked to facilitate a lesson someone else had presented back in the spring. I shared the lesson plan with my co-worker and his first question was: do we have any feedback on this session?

Searching through my files I realized that my disdain for Level 1 feedback led me to create a quick, too-general post-training evaluation form for this meeting and it didn’t yield any useful feedback for this particular session.

In addition to questions about the overall meeting, I should have asked specific questions (both Likert-scale style and open-ended) about each session during this meeting. Yes, this makes for a longer evaluation form, and if we’re going to ask learners to take the time to fill out the forms anyways we may as well get some useful information from them!

I absolutely agree with the idea that the best, most powerful learning experiences happen on the job. And in a world where formal training experiences are still part of our annual professional development experience, we training professionals need to ensure we continue to build better and better learning experiences for our audiences, both through noting our own observations of the session as well as crafting more effective ways of capturing our learners’ reactions.

What are some questions you’ve found particularly helpful on post-training evaluation forms?

Let me know in the comments section below (and perhaps it will be the subject of a future blog post!).

 

2 thoughts on “Start Worrying (A Lot) More About Level 1

  1. Be sure to ask the participants to evaluate THEMSELVES as a learner. How actively engaged were they in the process? Were their team mates involved and helpful? Did their manager prepare them? Will their manager support them to implement this new skill?
    It is not always the fault of the trainer if the learner did not get what they needed from our classes. Were they preoccupied by work/personal issues? Was this another training that they attended and knew that their manager would not support the new behavior? Did they get stuck in a dysfunctional team? (did you the trainer change up the teams often enough?)
    Learners need to know that what they are learning is useful, immediately practical and will be supported back on the job. but what did THEY bring to the class to help with that?

    • Ooooo, I like a lot of these suggestions. Thanks Priscilla. The final two Likert-style questions on my eval forms are always: 1) I was engaged and participating throughout this session; 2) My fellow attendees were engaged and participating throughout the session. I like the questions you have here around “My supervisor prepared me for this meeting” and “My supervisor will support me with this new skills when I return”.

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