ARE THE FIRST LEVEL of measurement in Kirkpatrick's four-step approach. Although sometimes
disregarded, reactions are important because, if students react negatively to your
courses, they are less likely to transfer what they learned to their work and more likely
to give bad reports to their peers, leading in turn to lower student numbers.
Here are probably the most common methods of measuring reactions:
The reactions questionnaire, often called a 'happy sheet' because of the way
it captures end-of -course euphoria, is almost ubiquitous with classroom courses. Of
course, there's no reason why it has to be given out at the end of the course - a more
considered opinion may be obtainable some days or even weeks after the course has
A good trainer or tutor will be able to detect the reactions of learners by
observing their behaviour and their comments. This method can generate useful feedback,
but not in an objective or structured fashion.
Another way to look at reactions is to hold a group meeting with all the
learners on the course. This way issues that are brought up can be debated and suggestions
found for making improvements in the future.
It would also be possible to measure reactions through one-to-one interviews
with learners. The best results will be obtained by structured interviews that work
methodically through the key issues.
The online environment also provides many opportunities for
Chat programs are the equivalent of the group discussion in a classroom.
They can be used to gain feedback from a group of learners or for a one-to-one.
Email provides the asynchronous alternative to chat. Learners can use email
to submit their comments directly to the tutor or to debate issues in a discussion forum.
Web page forms can be used in much the same way as paper happy sheets. In
fact, they have quite an advantage, in that the results can be automatically stored in a
file on the web server, for analysis by a spreadsheet or database program. With a little
programming, you can even have the analysis performed automatically.