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Heath Rushing Discusses JMP Training Course Evaluations

I had the opportunity to watch a public training course here in Cary. At the end of the course, the instructor asked the students to complete a course evaluation. Monica Beals asked, “Can you please complete a course evaluation? We use them. We really do.” Naturally, my next question was, “How?” I know how I was using them, but I didn’t know how the other instructors were using them, so I asked.

What I found was they each use them in similar ways. When they receive the evaluations, they immediately scan over all the numerical responses (and usually focus on the score associated with their ability to convey information) and read the individual comments to scrutinize their performance. How was my pace? Did I give them sufficient time to complete the exercises? Did I provide adequate answers to their questions? Do I need to follow up with an unsatisfied customer (if s/he left his/her name)? They also use the evaluations to gauge any disconnect between their perception of how the class went versus the customers’ perception. In addition, they use the feedback (from the evaluations and comments made in class) to determine how to improve the course during the next revision cycle.

Although I read each and every course evaluation (and ask many of the same questions as the other instructors), I tend to focus more on the aggregate than individual evaluations. I use the information, as Stu Hunter said at the Innovator’s Summit, “to provide a basis for action” on instruction methods, a particular course, or the curriculum. For example, I know one instructor scores exceptionally high on live web courses, so I called her and asked, “Kim, what’s your secret?” I know many customers for one course believe it is too long, while others believe it is too short. This tells me that we may need to divide the course into an introductory course and an advanced course. I know many customers would like to have courses specific to their industry. Therefore, we are exploring augmenting our curriculum with something similar to our Business Knowledge Series (BKS).

In terms of course evaluations, what can you do for us? You can be as accurate as possible with your numerical responses and as specific as possible with your individual comments. If you feel comfortable doing so, please leave your name. However, the most important thing you can do is to keep completing the course evaluations because as Monica said, “We use them. We really do.”

-Heath Rushing

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