It all starts with educators and instructors giving learners guidelines and applicable input. This type of feedback benefits the student who is showing immediate regulatory behavior. This whole process mirrors in turn the instructor's teaching abilities and the success of the implemented approaches.
On the long run, though, one has to position oneself at the receiving end when speaking about feedback. While it's true that you are submitting yourself to an uncomfortable situation which may put you in a vulnerable position, as an instructor you owe it to yourself and to your learners to ask for feedback.
Read more: How to get feedback for your online course
But this means nothing without the next step.
The circle would not be complete if you don't put to good use the data you have gathered from getting the feedback you wanted. Think about it as digging for gold. You may find some irrelevant and less valuable 'metals', but along the way you may discover a treasure. However, the treasure is not the gold itself, but what you can do with it.
4 Ways to put course feedback to good use
After following the required steps and having gathered enough data, you need to make the most of it.
Simply collecting information regarding your course is not enough. What you do with that information is what matters and how it can help you and your students achieve your goals.
Here are some ways to do just that:
Improve your course
Obviously, the first reasoning behind asking for feedback is improvement: of your course, of your teaching strategies, of communication with your learners, and so on. Regardless of the area you want to improve, the important aspect is that you are willing to change what does not work and are open to take your learners' needs seriously.
There may be students in need of a more guided approach to instruction, more activities, webinars, transcripts, better community interaction, incentives or tutorials.
By clearing the path that connects instructors and learners, making communication accessible and transparent, you will manage to have a community of learners that feel heard and listened to and whose inputs are put to good use.
Identify new course topics
Customer feedback is a door opener. While finding out data related to your running course, you can also find out what other areas of interest your learners have and you can offer another course on that particular topic.
Meeting the needs for knowledge the online learners have places you among the 'complete' instructors list, the ones that always have in mind the final beneficiary - the learner.
In creating or providing a course on topics of interest at a certain moment in time, you relate to the needs of your audience and you create a community that share the same values and are on the road to continuous personal development.
This opens the way to exploring new horizons guided by the requirements of your learners. You will start wanting to provide better courses or more varied ones out of a sense of responsibility towards their learning process.
Connect more with your learners
Feedback has the power to change people. As humans, we are always in search of approval and growth. Feedback does both. It helps us improve our knowledge by guiding our steps towards our goals at the same time. Through trial and error learners try their best while instructors support them and help them reach their highest point.
Knowing that they are not alone in the learning process helps students stay on track and reach their target. So, feedback is the best motivator. Furthermore, having motivated learners translates in successful courses and happy learners.
But you also benefit from showing your students that their opinions matter and, most importantly, that they are taken into account. This gives learners a sense of humanity in the digital world.
Turn data into testimonials
Learners are the most reliable source of information for potential customers. If you manage to get their opinions about different aspects related to the benefits of your course and how it made a difference in their lives, you can use them as testimonials.
As an online entrepreneur you have to promote your product and establish credibility on the market. So, what better way to do that than by using real people to validate your course. Customers in general tend to analyse offers according to what the reviews/testimonials say which goes to show the power they have.
Whether you require them to give you a written feedback or a recorded version related to your course, it will give you the genuine data you need to have a sustainable project which will last on the market.
All in all
We all hate to be criticized. But more often than not, feedback is the essence of growth and success. No matter how uncomfortable we may feel when submitting ourselves to possibly being criticized, the benefits that reside in this compulsory part of any learning process (for both sides involved) are indisputable.
The power, though, is in the hands of the beholder. It's up to you what you choose to do with the data you collect and how you manage it. It can be wasted or diligently applied to ensure the success of your course and your learners' development.