Developing a Learning Culture

Effective Feedback: How to Gather and Deliver Feedback Through eLearning

In eLearning design, assessments flow both ways, with learners “giving as good as they get.” Instructional designers learn quickly that a format of click, click, click, followed by more mind-numbing clicks with a test at the end garners disastrous results. The results show up in learner surveys and lame test scores. We’ll look at how to gather effective feedback, which is prologue to improvement, and how to give constructive feedback. The best feedback is built into the course. The challenge is to give and get feedback that serves the end user—the learner, and ultimately, the enterprise—by increasing the effectiveness of the module.

Delivering Feedback to Learners

When you deliver feedback is just as important as how you deliver it. Incremental/instant feedback is the most powerful because it allows the learner to make immediate corrections and/or review the information while it’s still fresh in his or her mind (as long as you haven’t locked the navigation).

  • Games, assessments, and tests offer immediate feedback to the learner.
  • Badges give feedback and recognition to the learner.
  • Provide ‘feedback’ to assessments through branching.
  • Game stats not only provide feedback but also provide the learner with an idea of where he or she places relative to other learners.

Tips for Gathering Feedback from Learners

Gathering useful feedback is what will make your eLearning evaluation succeed. Getting good feedback is all about asking the right questions at the right time and evaluating scores objectively. At the end of a module, learners just “want outta here,” so if you can ask questions as the training progresses, you’re likely to get more useful information. I know, it breaks the protocol, but you want serious, constructive feedback.

  • You’re not still asking, “What did you like most/least about the course,” are you? More important than what the learners like or don’t like is how engaging they found the course and if they will be able to use the knowledge they’ve acquired. Try asking, “What was the most useful/least useful thing you learned in the course,” or “What piece of knowledge will you put to use immediately/never”?
  • If you’re concerned about any portion of your eLearning, ask questions that target your concern immediately after that section of the training.
  • Sometimes you don’t even have to ask. If you offer a test and everyone fails the test, what does that tell you? If your gamification stats are miserable, they’re probably an indication that the game elements are not effective in converting information to real-world situations.