Trainers, training managers, and instructional designers need feedback on their work. Traditionally, they get that feedback from course evaluations and meetings with clients. But what about the Web?

Wouldn’t you love it if you could let your students and your co-workers fill out an online survey to rate a class or a training product? And wouldn’t you love it even more if you could put a survey online for free? If so, you’ve got to visit

Surveys to go
Zoomerang is a site designed with the sole purpose of helping you build and deploy Web-based surveys. On the Zoomerang home page you can learn all about their services by taking the Quick Tour. That tour gives you a complete description of their process for developing surveys and helps you see how it works.

To get started with Zoomerang, you must sign up as a member. The process is pretty standard—you’re only asked to provide your Zip code, gender, and age range.

One small complaint I have about the site is that you can’t immediately begin to use it after signing up. As a security measure, you have to wait for Zoomerang’s e-mail message and reply to it. Your response confirms your membership and allows you to use the site and its features. (This minor inconvenience is only a problem if you are in a big rush, so be aware that you can’t use the site IMMEDIATELY after logging in.)

Once you become a registered member, you get full access to the site’s features. The three main areas of interest are New Survey, E-mail Lists, and My Surveys.

New Survey
Once you’re a Zoomerang member, get out a list of questions you’d like to ask a group of people. When you click on New Survey you’ll be on your way. The site has four areas of templates to help you get started:

  • Business
  • Community
  • Personal/Social
  • Education.

You can also build your own survey from scratch. But, for our purposes, we’ll focus on one of the surveys from the Business Templates section, which contains at least 30 sample surveys. They’re arranged in these broad categories:

  • Evaluation, Opinions & Satisfaction
  • New Product/Concept Feedback
  • Marketing
  • Meetings & Events.

By my count, at least 15 of the 30 pre-defined sample surveys could be useful to trainers. Once you pick a template, you can keep as much or as little of the original design as you like. You can easily modify questions, delete questions, add to the choices (if a multiple choice question), and add new questions. You can also choose between ten different themes to give your survey the look and feel you desire.

E-mail Lists
Once you’ve crafted your survey, you’ll want to let people know where to take it! Zoomerang’s E-mail List function makes it easy. From this section, you can enter individual names (you will be prompted for first and last names as well as e-mail addresses).

You don’t have to type all the names in individually if you don’t want to. If you have a list, the site imports comma-delimited format (csv). This function should be easy if your list is in any popular e-mail program, contact manager, or spreadsheet. The site also lets you categorize and keep lists for future use, a nice feature if you find yourself using this site often.

Survey results in real time
Once you’ve built your survey and publicized it to your list, all you have to do is wait for your results! The My Surveys section allows you to do that in real time. This section is your administrative headquarters where you can view reports, modify your survey, close the survey, and delete it. You can control multiple surveys from this interface as well.

Final impressions
There are a variety of free survey sites on the Web, but I have to count Zoomerang among the best. It distinguishes itself with the e-mail functionality—the site itself helps you notify your audience. Perhaps its best feature is the ability to select from pre-designed surveys.

If you want feedback on a meeting, there are only so many questions you might want to ask. Even if the pre-designed sample on this site doesn’t perfectly meet your needs, it will be close. Every question in the sample is one fewer you will have to write yourself.

When you go to the Zoomerang page, you see their slogan: “Easiest way to ask, fastest way to know.” After my review, I would say this site lives up to those words. If you need to survey your customers and want to use the Web to do it, I would encourage you to check out this site. Table A summarizes my review.

Table A
Here’s the summary of Kevin’s review of

Kevin Eikenberry is President of the Discian Group, a learning consulting company in Indianapolis, IN. To comment on this review, or to recommend a great site for trainers, please follow this link to write to Kevin.