Emoji Tracker Cards

Emoji Tracker

I’ve filled in a few workshop evaluations. They come in different guises. The ones I really enjoy are called reaction, smile or happy sheets with satisfaction scales. They are supposed to establish the degree to which my training met my expectations. They are quick and don’t require much thought.

I understand why they are used. Learning designers need show that their workshop has achieved what was intended. But does a sequence of smiling faces indicate learning? Or does it show that the facilitators jokes were funny and whether they had a good time?

When running workshops, I prefer to know immediately how participants are experiencing the workshop. But asking  questions about “how are you doing” doesn’t really help. It’s only the confident or vocal who respond.

To assist making reactions visible, I’ve created a set of “Emoji Tracker Cards”. Instead of handing out a “happy sheet” at the end of the workshop, these business like cards  allow participants to offer immediate feedback about their current learning experience.

How to use the Emoji tracker

Emoji Tracker Cards
Emoji Tracker Cards

Participants know what emoji’s are. I introduce them to the concept of emoji tracking at the beginning of the workshop. I hand out the cards and explain that each card has two contrasting reactions. These reactions are communicated by an emoji, a few descriptive words and a colour. They can fold each of their cards in half and place the emoji that describes their current reaction facing outwards.

Participants are then,  at regular intervals, asked to identify their current feelings (frustrated, energized, distracted, engaged etc.) and select the emoji that best describes their current reaction.

Why do I like this approach?

Workshop participant’s reactions differ. Some hate ice-breakers. Others enjoy interaction and discussion. When you use an unfamiliar technology, these reactions are often hidden. Participants do not want to show that they are struggling with their tech. I use emoji tracker cards to note immediate reactions to what’s going on and respond where necessary. Regular use of the cards throughout the day offers me an opportunity to track and record ongoing reactions during the workshop. If these emoji shaped reactions are recorded right through-out the training session, then I am 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. Happy sheets are also introduced at the end of a workshop, after the damage has been done. Emoji tracker cards add value to workshop participants. They offer them the opportunity to give the facilitator immediate feedback. The facilitator has 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.

UPDATE: I used my emoji tracker cards for the first time in a workshop this week. Filled up three shoeboxes with a set or two of cards and got participants to renew them regularly through out the two day workshop. Really useful seeing how people are feeling about the experience.

Credit: Simon Clatworthy’s Touch Point Cards  inspired different emotions used in my set of Emoji tracker cards


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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