This post has been updated on July 9, 2020.
Feedback in e-learning benefits both the learner and the instructor. Learners need guidance in their educational process and feedback is the one thing that provides them with a clear picture of where they stand and what they have to do to reach their goals.
Nonetheless, feedback is a two-way street: you can give it to your learners and you can also be on the receiving end. Educators need to know that receiving feedback from their learners may not put them in a comfortable situation, but it's crucial for them and their course.
Last time we explored a few tips on how to deliver feedback to your online learners. It’s time now to focus on how to get it.
There are plenty of ways to elicit your learners' take on your course. Make sure to use the ones that suit you and your learners.
4 Ways to get feedback for your online courses
As an online course creator, you know that learning is not something only your students do; you do it too. You’re constantly learning how to get better at what you do.
One way to identify the areas you need to improve is to pick the brains of your online content consumers. The feedback your learners give you about your online course can be golden.
Asking for feedback puts you into a rather vulnerable situation, but it’s the only real way to find out what you can do better when designing your online courses.
Perhaps you could include more interactive elements into your course. Maybe you need to work on expressing more clearly the learning objectives of each lesson. Or maybe you need to be more present and offer more support to your learners at every step of their learning journey.
In order to turn all these possibilities (and maybe more) into certainties and take targeted action to improve your course, you need data. Here are four ways to get that data:
Either face-to-face or via video conferencing, interviews put you in direct contact with your learners. You are able to ask your students directly what their opinion on the course is and receive valuable intake from them.
This approach sends a clear message to your learners: that they matter and that their opinions are important. In this way, participants feel confident in sharing their thoughts and they will give you relevant information.
In order to get the most out of an interview, you should have clear objectives in mind. Know what it is that you want to find out and ask questions that require more than just yes or no answers. The more specific your questions are, the more reliable the answers will be.
While interviews represent a more personal approach, webinars are intended for larger groups. During your webinar you can ask your learners to answer some questions related to the topic of the webinar itself or about how they feel it helps them, what else they would want to know or what they need from the course or the instructor.
To reach a broader audience, live webinars may be a menace due to different timetables your learners may have. You can record your webinar and make it available to all your learners. During the recording insert some pop-up question boxes to elicit instant feedback.
Again, be sure to ask relevant questions to get the most out of the answers you receive.
With surveys, you get the most versatile method of finding out what your learners need, if the course is going in the right direction for them, whether they need more clarifications, resources, or guidance. You can include surveys throughout your course: at the beginning, included in the learning modules, at the end of the course, and after it’s over.
- Pre-course surveys help you determine your learners' expectations and try to meet them;
- Built-in course surveys allow you to adjust the learning paths and moderate the course to suit different needs;
- End-of-course surveys give you a conclusive perspective on what the course was like for your learners, what they consider to be the benefits of it or what should be changed and they can even give you essential information on what type of course your learners would want to attend in the future, giving you the possibility to provide it for them;
- Post-course surveys come in handy as they require information after some weeks have passed since the course ended, so the former learners can give you an overall image of what the whole course meant for them and how it contributed to changing their life and achieving their goals.
What is convenient about surveys in general is that participants can answer your questions at any time. This means that you are more likely to receive the feedback you want from the majority of your learners.
Throughout your online course, you have already established a connection with your learners. In the beginning, though, you connect solely through emails. Making use of emails to receive feedback from your learners offers a short, direct and to the point gate towards real feedback. Being easy to personalize, students feel that you want their perspectives on the course you provide and not necessarily everyone else's.
Learners are familiar with your emails and are more likely to answer your questions. You can even embed a survey for them to fill in. Just try not to overdo it, though. Having too many questions might lead to a high bounce back rate. Have in mind the specific information you want to receive and ask clear questions. In this way, you will get what you want out of the feedback learners provide you with.
Start practicing what you preach. As educators you want your learners to evolve and improve their skills, but you should do that too. Listen to your learners and create meaningful courses that can change their lives and yours.
Getting feedback for your online course is not the end of your journey. Once you have the data you need to make the most of it. Next time we’ll explore a few useful ways you can put that feedback you got to good use.
So keep an eye on the Entrepreneurs Blog!