Happy sheets (Evaluating training, part 2)

This blog page is part 2 of a 5 part blog series on evaluating training. Follow this link to find the mother page (page 1).


If you are talking about level 1 evaluations (“happy sheets”) these are my current favourite questions:

OPEN questions:

  • What is your opinion of the training?
  • What did you learn?
  • What will you do differently in the future?


Some people will go further on each of these questions, asking things like:

  • What did you find good? What did you find bad? What do you think of the duration? What did you think of the trainer etc etc…

If you are planning to create reports on these elements to compare different learning providers and track progress in trainer-performance, these questions can be interesting.

Personally, I use happy-sheets to see how I can improve in my own work as a trainer, so I want to reduce admin and increase useful feedback. I just really want to know whatever THEY want to tell me.. .. so I levave it quite open.


My current favourite CLOSED questions are:

  • Was this added-value for you?
  • Would you recommend it to others?

Short and sweet – I don’t like to measure things on scales anymore. Let’s cut the crap and get to the heart of it. Thankzs @Gosse_C from KPMG Belgium for this idea some years ago…


What about 1 to 5 and 1 to 4 scales?

Some people want to know whether you should use a 5 point scale or a 4 point scale. Tough one..

  • First response is generally that a 4 point scale obliges people not to “sit on the fence” and show their real preference. As a Learning + Development Manager in the past, I used a 5 point scale and can’t really say “people always scoring 3” happened a lot … so for me, this is a theoretical question, rather than practical. As a side note, I told my team of trainers that 3 was not acceptable anyway – we wanted 4s and 5s !
  • Let’s assume we did use a 4 point scale – does it work? In my experience as a trainer, I didn’t see anything under “good” and “really good” in the answers. Is this simply because I’m so good? 🙂 I’m not convinced… SOMETIMES what I saw was someone scoring “good” (3) but adding lots of negative comments. For me, this meant that they just didn’t dare to put bad, but really the perception was bad…

..so you need to be careful that you scores represent reality …which is why I don’t use them and prefer only the OPEN and CLOSED questions noted above.


Now, what about those other levels of evaluation? Learning, Behaviour and Results?

Asking participants what they think about these things is good, but not enough!


This blog series is split into 5 parts. Choose one of these links to read more…



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About Dan Steer

Wandering corporate trainer, learning and development consultant, conference speaker and professional El-Magico. I help people get better at stuff by creating and facilitating Infinite Learning © opportunities. The world would be a better place if everyone was doing what he loved and doing it well. I am working to bring out the "El Magico" in everybody. Training in presentation and communication skills, leadership, social media for learning and marketing, learning and development management + personal effectiveness.

Posted on December 2, 2011, in Learning Management, Resources and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

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