You have just finished delivering a course. Most trainers tend to be relieved that it is now out of the way, that there were no major technical issues, and, hopefully, most learners liked the course. They then tend to archive the material, move on to something else and forget about the course until they have to deliver it again the next time.
What have they missed doing?
We keep telling learners, that in order to learn, they must practice. Practicing involves evaluation and a feedback loop. As a trainer, you are also learning to deliver a good course, be it face-to-face, online or any other format. To be become better, you must assess your own performance. Therefore, the number one crucial task after a course delivery is self-evaluation. Just consider the following:
Who is the best person to carry this evaluation?
You! You are both the subject matter expert and the trainer, the ideal candidate to check and see what worked in the course you just delivered and what didn’t. You know what you wanted to achieve and you know what results you got. Did your teaching strategy work? If not, how can you improve it?
When is the best time to do it?
Right after the course when you can still remember what worked and what didn’t.
What is the best way to do it?
Answer a consistent set of questions every time you deliver your course. Answering the same set of questions is like doing the same test and checking if you pass.
What should you do based on your answers?
Draw up a number of actions and set out to improve your course design and delivery by following these actions before the next course.
What tools can you use to improve your self-evaluation?
Record yourself on video when you can. This cannot be stressed enough! There is a wealth of knowledge at your disposal when observing yourself. You can improve your performance greatly by attacking the most obvious issues. A camera (which miraculously everyone now has) is the best tool to check your own expression, body language, communication clarity and voice. If your course is online, you are already half way there as you have the video ready to be analysed.
So now you are wondering what kind of questions you should ask yourself. For this, here is a compiled set of questions listed under three categories of course delivery, trainer performance and content design. It is assumed that you might also be responsible for the design of the course or at least have some input, and self-evaluation questions on course design are also included. Make sure to write down your answers. Don’t just read the question and verbalise an answer. Writing helps you think better and more systematically. You will also end up with a record of your thoughts right after the course which you can come back to when you are about to run your next course some time later. It is extremely easy to forget your own performance or bright ideas you might have had just after the course, especially when there is a gap between your course deliveries.
After each course delivery, whether it is face-to-face or online, ask yourself the following questions:
Did I meet learners’ needs?
To what extent learners were engaged?
Did I spend enough time to understand learners’ needs?
Was the course at the right level for most learners?
Was the course delivered at the right pace for most learners?
How can I make the course even easier for learners to understand?
Did I meet my personal objective for the course such as teaching them key ‘eureka concepts’?
How many learners were comfortably following along throughout the course?
Were there any areas were learners felt rushed?
Were there any areas were learners felt I lingered on a topic for too long?
Which areas were more difficult to grasp for the majority of the learners?
Do I have to change the way I grouped learners for various activities and discussions? Should I use clock buddies?
Can I teach any content faster while still maximising knowledge retention?
Was I able to engage everyone throughout the course, including those who are shy?
If I had the chance to re-train the same group of learners on the same subject, what would I do differently?
Did I have to repeat content because learners could not understand, perhaps because I didn’t express it clearly?
Was my body language, verbal expression and voice effective and non-distracting?
Did I establish rapport and get learners to like me?
What can you do to make learners like me more?
How was my performance when greeting learners at the start of the course?
Did I manage to make learners feel more comfortable and welcome at the start?
How would I rate my course introductory performance from the moment they arrived to the end of first break? What do I need to improve on?
Did I entertain learners enough to make them feel they are attending a great course?
Did I handle disruptions well?
Did I give enough personal attention to learners when they needed extra help?
Did I handle difficult situations well, such as dominating learners, off-topic discussions or when I was challenged?
Did I have any technical issues that could be avoided with more preparation next time?
What questions did learners ask that I did not know the answer to? Were they in-scope? Am I supposed to know them?
Is there any way I can still improve my performance and training delivery?
Do I have to change any of the sessions and topics covered, remove or add new content?
How effective were the exercises and do I need to change or introduce new ones to make it easier to practice?
Do I need to change the allocated time for some exercises?
Do I have to change the order of materials presented to make it clearer or avoid potential confusion?
Are there any mistakes in any of the handouts, workbook, slides or online content that need to be corrected?
How can I make the content still easier to understand?
What changes do I need to make to improve visual content such as slides, videos, webpages, illustrations, etc.?
In face-to-face courses, can I explain a topic more effectively by writing or drawing on a whiteboard / flipchart?
What technologies or devices can I use to improve training delivery and long-term retention?
What props can I bring to a face-to-face course or show on video to make content easier to understand?
Should I change the training environment to make learning more immersive and efficient?
What do I need to change in the training environment to reduce potential distractions?
Were there any new areas that learners wanted to know more about?
What areas are trending that I must consider to include them in future courses?
What changes do I have to make to recap and benchmarking questions to make them more effective?
Do I need to make changes to the way learners are assessed?
Were there areas that many learners were not interested in? Are these areas important for them or should I drop them?
Do I have to add anything to the Reserved Question Pool or optional content?
What do I need to change for delivery and design based on the formal or informal feedback received from the learners?
Take as much time as needed to answer these questions right after the course. Consider adding your own questions to tailor this self-evaluation questionnaire based on what you teach, aspects of your training delivery and design that you like to improve on, areas your stakeholders are concerned with or anything else. Ideally, you should evaluate this question list too (as meta-evaluation) after you have answered them all and then update the questions so that the self-evaluation questionnaire is ready for your next course.
For your convenience the self-evaluation questions are provided as a form in an editable DOCX and you can download this form from the free resources section.
Please consider sharing any other questions that you think needs to be included in this list and share it with the training community.