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pixel.gif (807 bytes) Measuring reactions
REACTIONS 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:

Questionnaire
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 finished.

Observation
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.

Meetings
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.

Interviews
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 measuring reactions:

Chat
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
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.

Online questionnaires
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.

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