Getting better response rates and data from course evaluations

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Posted by Greg Pope

In my last post I shared some pointers about authoring course evaluation questions and surveys. I’d like to follow that up with some brief tips on how to get better response rates and high quality data when administering course evaluation surveys:

  • Ensure that participants know that their responses are anonymous. This will encourage higher response rates and “truthful” responses.
  • Encourage participants to provide both good and bad feedback so that the instruction, course materials, facilities, and course curriculum can be improved.
  • Have participants take the survey on the last day of the course, or very soon after the course, so that their perspectives are fresh and genuine.
    • For example, link from the end-of-course exam to the course evaluation survey.
  • Consider completion of the course evaluation survey to be part of the successful completion of the course.
  • Encourage multiple delivery platforms for the course evaluation survey (e.g., mobile as well as traditional desktop/laptop) to make the taking of the survey more convenient for participants.
  • Consider reporting back to participants about summary results from the course evaluations and plans for improving courses in the future.
  • Keep the survey short and sweet so that participants are not fatigued by the process of taking it.
  • Ensure that the survey is free of spelling or grammatical errors.
  • Consider offering an opportunity for course evaluation responders to win a prize (e.g., gift certificate, t-shirt, coffee mug, etc.) for responding within a specified time window. In practice, treating the gathering of survey results as an exchange tends to increase response rates (“In return for taking this survey we will offer you an opportunity to win _____.”)

Click here for a sample academic course evalution and here for a corporate training example.

One Response to “Getting better response rates and data from course evaluations”

  1. […] For another article on course evaluation surveys, see Greg Pope’s blog article on how to get better response rates from course evaluation surveys. […]

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