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What does meaningful feedback for trainings mean

Getting feedback from a training is a vital part of the entire process for everyone involved. Often though it is neglected or turned into something personal.

Participants have the biggest impact on the overall feedback score. Sadly, in most cases the feedback is very limited and basic. Often it can be as simple as “did you like the trainer” and “was the training useful”.

But feedback actually goes both ways. The participants in the trainings also need meaningful feedback. It should be more than a simple “you did well” at the end of the course. Trainees should get meaningful feedback during the actual training as well, so they know if they are progressing well and are motivated to continue.

Trainers should also get meaningful feedback so they can adjust their style and technique. Training providers also need proper feedback so they can further improve the courses. Finally, the company which ordered the training, also needs feedback from everyone involved.

Since so much feedback can be time consuming, it is often neglected. But actually, it is that very feedback which can mean a lot to the future development of the course and everyone involved. And it actually can be very easy to gain and give meaningful feedback without spending too much time or effort on it.

You can employ similar principles for all different types of feedback. After all they are all looking at the same basis of information and the same event.

Pick your moments

First separate the feedback into three different timeframes. The first one is during the actual course. The second one is immediately after the training. Finally, the third one is a follow up a few weeks or even months later. These three stages will help you understand how the training is progressing, what is the overall feel from it and was the knowledge retained successfully.

Now onto the process of the actual feedback. First, it depends on the type of training and how long it is. If it’s a course which takes up to a few days you can ask for feedback as it goes on. If it’s a short training of only a day or so, then you may want to skip this so you don’t overload the trainees.

But no matter how long the course is, you should always give the trainees feedback. It could come in the form of quizzes, interactive tasks (especially if it’s an e-learning based training) or other methods of gamification. This will give learners much needed motivation to keep going. This feedback can be in the form of achievements, points and of course comments on how things are going.

Getting feedback

After the course it’s time for the classic feedback survey. But please do tell the trainees about this survey well in advance. Don’t serve it up to them as a “just one more thing”. They are already tired so giving them a surprise task won’t sit well. But do tell them about the survey at the start of the training, then remind them about it later on.

Then comes the follow up survey. It is the one which most often is completely forgotten. Actually, it’s as important as the rest. It should start with a short quiz asking the participants how they feel about the training now and has their work improved. Are they using the new knowledge? Then manages can also say their opinion.

This feedback will show the company whether the training was actually successful or not. It will also give them idea of what they need to improve further. Trainers and providers will get to find out if their methods and content are “sticking” well or if an update to the course is needed. Everyone should win from this.