Why Learner Feedback is Important

Why Learner Feedback is Important

This week I had the great pleasure of delivering an advanced Safeguarding Children (Level 3) face to face training course.  Some of the learner delegates were new to this course and some attended this course as a refresher.  Despite this mix of delegates they were all attentive, working effectively in their groups, positively exploring topics, discussing, posing queries and using realistic social learning group exercises.

There were lots of questions, the delegates were very engaged and eager to learn. In fact, learner input is an intentional part of our safeguarding course design.  We actively encourage learners to find and integrate content into their training courses. 

Why do we evaluate learning and development (L&D) activities?

Course feedback is something I never shy away from, simply put, it helps ensure that each course delivered is successful in meeting its aims.  It provides organisations with the return on investment confidence that their staff are “knowing the right things to do things right”. 

How do we evaluate feedback? 

The most influential model for evaluating learning and development (L&D), was first published in the 1950s by Kirkpatrick. It outlines four levels for evaluating training:

  • Reactions – reaction to a training intervention.
  • Learning – ‘principles, facts etc absorbed’.
  • Behaviour – ‘using learning gained on the job’.
  • Results – ‘increased production, reduced costs, etc’.

There are many different evaluation models, but some were developed to assess the value of individual training programmes not an holistic approach to the impact on the organisation. 

The first level of evaluation is the learner’s reaction to the learning itself

The most recognisable way to get feedback is commonly called a ‘happy sheet’ which looks at learner satisfaction levels of, for example, the facilitator, materials, venue etc. This is not the approach Kirkpatrick advised in the first level of evaluation –  the first level is the learner’s reaction to the learning itself, which is the approach I also agree with.

Does formal facilitated learning work for your organisation?

Measuring the impact, transfer and engagement of L&D activities can’t be done just by a ‘happy sheet’, end of course questionnaire, knowledge quiz or post-training survey.  Practitioners must work closely with client stakeholders to agree success criteria. I take great pleasure in getting to know each client professionally thus ensuring each course fits each organisation and isn’t just a “the same course off the shelf “course regardless of the organisation or client, whilst also maintaining the course aim and learning outcomes comply with statutory requirements.

The AGES model, produced by Davachi et al, draws on established psychological principles. It suggests that learning is effective when these factors are considered in training course design and delivery:

  • A (Attention): We need to ensure minimal distractions and avoid cognitive overload. Novelty and varied techniques and approaches enhance attention.
  • G (Generation): We maximise the likelihood of positive engagement and formation of long-term memories when learning has personal meaning and significance. Practitioners need to align learning to existing knowledge to support meaningful associations and applications.
  • E (Emotion): This is key in fostering attention and enhancing memory function. Generating positive emotional experiences and social activities helps learning transfer. Conversely, if leaners have a negative emotion associated with learning, such as a fear of failure, they are less likely to engage.
  • S (Spacing): It’s better to distribute learning in discrete blocks delivered over short time periods than cram lots of content into a prolonged session to aid long-term memory retention.

There is so much to consider about training course design including digital delivery ‘v’ face to face, social learning – learning takes place through interaction with others in a social context and all of this whilst understanding the importance of learning being a stress-free and enjoyable experience for effective outcomes (The neuroscience of joyful education by Willis).

Learning underpinned by research and evidence:

Sometimes feedback speaks for itself…

“Fiona explained everything well and made sure everyone understood what was being talked about, written activities helped learning”.

“Very good at covering everything and exploring things to those new to safeguarding training”.

“She was really helpful and explained in detail each part and gave space for questions”.

“Laws surrounding this subject were clearly outlined. Outlined Mash referral process and different levels and thresholds that I was unaware of before”.

“This course has been very informative, and I will certainly use the knowledge gained in my role going forward”.

“I enjoyed working with Fiona at Safe-guarding.co in delivering specialist Level 4 safeguarding training for GPs.  The high-quality conferences that she delivered were met with very positive feedback from delegates. Fiona is well organised and helped with the logistics to run the training efficiently and sensitively”.

“I have known Fee Lee for many years as we served together in the same police force. I have been her student and also worked alongside her as a trainer. Fee’s knowledge in sexual offence investigations was outstanding and she went above and beyond her role to improve police response to victims.
Fee excelled further in Child Protection and is an expert in Safeguarding.”

“I have recently attended some of Fee’s training sessions – she remains extremely passionate about her work, and this shines through in her training delivery. She is friendly and engaging and her training is current, practical and realistic. I have no hesitation in recommending Fee”.

“Very good safeguarding teaching. Lots new to learn” 

‘’I have worked in social care for 28 years and health for 2 years and this is the best safeguarding training that I have attended. It revisited core principles around recording, legislation, risk assessment whilst keeping the content fresh and up to date. The use of media clips and exercises helped to make the training varied and I came away with 35 points for follow up!’’

‘’Excellent trainer. Plenty of opportunity to ask questions, share knowledge and experience. Case studies relevant and a valuable means of consolidating understanding and reflecting on practice.’’

‘’Great session, very informative. and interactive.’’

‘’Really well organised and executed course. Really enjoyed it! Great trainer!’’

‘’Was surprised how well zoom worked for a face-to-face course. Really good way of doing it, no travel and at home really good.’’

‘’Really like Zoom it really does work for training and the breakout rooms were great. Difficult topic made interesting thank you.’’

‘’The trainer was excellent, appreciated real case examples to highlight and illustrate the points that she was making.’’

Why do we follow up the follow up?

According to the CIPD, evaluating learning and development (L&D) covers 3 key areas:

  • Impact – L&D working with the organisation to show how learning has impacted on performance – including links to key performance indicators (financial and operational).
  • Transfer – L&D working with the organisation to show how any learning has been transferred back into the employee’s role and work area – these can include performance goals and how new skills and knowledge have been used.
  • Engagement – L&D demonstrating how stakeholders are engaged with learning, this can be at an organisational level where a positive learning environment is the goal, at team levels or at an individual level.

So this is why I’ll be following up on the training impact with my clients in a few weeks time.

Meanwhile my next online Safeguarding Children Level 4 is now available for bookings here

https://safeguardingchildren.eventbrite.co.uk >


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