The Right Kind of Feedback

“Feedback” by Skley is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Receiving feedback from people you are training sounds like a daunting experience.  Feedback is often associated with negative opinions, unconstructive criticism and too frequently can depend on the mood or ego of the feedback-giver.  This is what can happen if you leave your feedback open.  If you find that what participants say isn’t useful to you, you need to use more direct questions to find out what you need to know and to be sure you are getting the right kind of feedback.

For the right kind of feedback, first decide exactly what you want to know.  Some examples are:

I noticed that some people were not taking part in the group work very well:  How did you feel about the group work on the first day?” “Why did you feel that way?

Some people didn’t submit their answers on time and blamed the platform:  On a scale of 1-10 (1-difficult and 10-easy), how easy was it to submit the answers on the learning platform? Explain your answer if you chose lower than 7.

I noticed that some people didn’t seem to be taking part in group discussions much unless I prompted them to: Did you feel seen and heard enough during the group sessions? Give an example, please.” “Did you feel that everyone pulled their weight during the group work?  Why do you think this is?

You can still add other open questions to your feedback.  The ideas others come up with can be extremely helpful, even if they are not part of your vision at the time.  The directed questions should help you to find out exactly what you are curious about, so that even if the open questions lead nowhere, you will have exactly what you asked for.

You can ask for feedback directly from the group after the course, and if it isn’t online, some participants will probably prefer to tell you in person instead of writing it, as it takes much less time.  Other participants, even after being on a face to face course, prefer to take their time over it and write it later.  Anonymous feedback is often preferred, especially if they think there will be some consequences to what they write or don’t write.  Giving participants a short course in how to write constructive criticism would be great but it probably won’t happen, so adding a simple ‘What would you suggest to improve…..?’ might help, as it enforces the constructive side of the feedback.

As always, feel free to give us any feedback here at Longvine!  Good luck with your training!

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