Education

TechRepublic reader sounds off about computer-based training evaluations

Why ask computer students to hand-write a class evaluation? A TechRepublic reader believes in putting the evaluations onscreen.

How was the class? Did the trainer do a good job? Did you learn something? Would you attend another class taught by the same instructor? What other classes are you interested in attending?

We want the answers to those questions, and we want them before the students leave the class. But how do we get those answers? Hand out a collated, stapled evaluation form? According to TechRepublic passport owner Lorne Boden, that’s the old-fashioned way.

The Web-based evaluation
In response to Katy Yocom’s recent article on overcoming employees’ fear of “Big Brother” with computer-based tracking and skills assessment , Lorne wrote to suggest that the best way to capture student evaluations isn’t necessarily by keeping an electronic eye on a trainee’s progress. Lorne believes in giving students an evaluation they can complete anonymously on the computer.

Here’s what Lorne wrote:

We at Executive Education have developed two tools for assessing both the student and the instructor on the computer-based training application. The OES (Online Evaluation System) is designed to capture student post-class evaluations. The OES has been designed to be driven completely by a Web browser so it can be accessed by any workstation connected to the Internet or intranet. (The OES can be hosted externally with Executive Education or internally by the customer.)

First, with the student capturing the post-class evaluation electronically, we as instructors have found a more accurate assessment of the instructors' performance by the student. We feel this is due to the confidentiality of the evaluation rather than a paper form that is handed to the instructor or the training facility's registrar (students become inhibited). I have never understood teaching students to operate computer software only to have them hand-write the evaluation form—this just does not make any sense!

The second advantage of capturing the evaluations electronically is the reporting functions that have been built into the system—the reporting allows the training facilities management to obtain up-to-the-minute reports on instructor performance as well as student success. To measure student success, the Web-based assessment test engine (OAS) will administer a pre-determined number of questions from a database in random order. This allows for accurate testing of training candidates pre-and post-class, from within the classroom or remote location (in the case of a CBT). Once the assessment has been completed the results are stored in a central database and can be accessed by management to get candidate results.

An example of the above applications may be found at the Executive Education home page . (Click the Online Evaluation System link.)
How do you measure the quality of training? Send me a note and let me know how you solve this problem in your organization.

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