Learner evaluations. You’ve seen them in different guises. Often called reaction, smile or happy sheets, these satisfaction scales are supposed to establish the degree to which workshop participants found their training favorable.
Let’s be clear. Identifying the effectiveness of a workshop is important. Learning designers need to know if they have achieved the intended learning outcomes. I’m not convinced that a set of favorable reactions mean that any learning has happened. A series of “smiles” could indicate that participants appreciated the jokes and had a good time.
When evaluating a workshop I prefer to collect evidence of effectiveness. To assist this collection process, I’ve created a set of Emoji Tracker cards. Instead of handing out a “happy sheet” at the end of the session, these cards allow participants to offer immediate feedback about their experience.
How does this work?
Participants will be issued with a pack of Emoji Tracker Cards at the beginning of the workshop. Each card has two contrasting reactions. These reactions are communicated by an emoji, a few descriptive words and a colour. Participants fold each of their cards in half. Then at regular intervals they are invited to identify their current reactions and select the emoji that best describes their immediate reaction. They then place the selected emoji card on the front of their desk.
What should the facilitator do?
Workshop participant’s react differently. The facilitator can use the Emoji Tracker cards to keep track of participants immediate reactions and respond where necessary. Regular use of the cards offers the workshop facilitators an opportunity to note ongoing reactions to the workshop and if these Emoji shaped reactions are recorded right through-out the training session, then the facilitator will be able to identify when the training experience began to become negative and how wide this sentiment was felt.
Happy sheet data is often flawed. It is not representative and/or the sample has not been selected and they are introduced after the damage has been done. Emoji tracker cards can be used in the workshop by all participants. They offer the facilitator immediate feedback and the opportunity to respond to issues. If their reactions are recorded right throughout the session, then this data could also be useful for the next workshop
Credit: Emoji Tracker Cards were inspired by Simon Clatworthy’s Touch Point Cards http://www.service-innovation.org/new-version-of-the-touch-point-cards/