5 Easy Mistakes To Make When Collecting Feedback For Your Online Course
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What To Avoid When Collecting Feedback For Your Online Course

Collecting actionable feedback from your online course can be very exposing to us as trainers and humans. Asking for honest feedback can leave us feeling vulnerable and somewhat uncomfortable.

Let’s be honest. Who enjoys being told that their course could have been better or that participants didn’t come away with as much as they’d hoped.

It’s good to remind ourselves that the purpose of the feedback is not to punish ourselves but to find ways that we can improve, so that future courses can exceed expectations.

Let’s take a look at some of the mistakes that’s easy to make when you’re collecting feedback from your online course.

1. Ask Too Many Questions

In the quest for detailed, in-depth feedback, it’s very easy to go completely overboard and ask too many questions. We’d like to get full and frank feedback on all aspects of our course, so it’s understandable that we’d want to ask a complete set of questions.

But if we ask too many questions, people will tend to get bored and drop out of the survey before it’s complete.

Or worse still, responders might start answering randomly in a bid to reach the end of the survey, resulting in skewed and inaccurate results.

Research from Survey Monkey and reported by Hubspot revealed that the more questions you ask, the less time will be spent on each question.

The key is to prioritize your questions and focus on areas of your course that you think may need improving. Keep it short and simple. If the survey can’t be completed in less than a few minutes, it’s probably too long.

2. Ask The Wrong Type Of Question

Most surveys finish off with a freehand box that allows people to make any further comments or thoughts they may have.
This final question usually takes the following form, or something similar: "Have you anything else to add? Your feedback really helps us improve our online courses."

This type of question is far too broad and unless the candidate has any burning issues, is often left blank.

It’s more effective to ask leading questions that really get people thinking. A much better question to end a survey would be: "If you could change 2 things on this course what would they be and why?"

3. Fail To Promote Your Feedback Survey After Your Online Course

Most surveys are completed immediately after the course when it’s fresh in the learners’ minds.

But you can increase response still further by contacting those that didn’t respond. The most common way of doing this is with an email which includes a link to the survey and a request to complete.

But don’t ignore other potentially powerful and response channels.

SMS is an incredibly responsive way to encourage customers to complete your survey. Despite being over 25 years old, SMS is still a popular and responsive communication channel. The open rate for SMS is 98% and the response rate to is 6-8 times higher than email.

Social media can also be an effective follow-up channel, particularly if they’ve used it to contact or communicate with you.

Whichever channel is most effective, the objective is to squeeze as much possible response from your candidates. Often the eLearners who are the most difficult to persuade can provide you with the most valuable insights.

4. Avoid The Tough Questions

None of us enjoys being criticized. It’s human nature. So, it’s tempting to keep our questions lightweight and biased towards answers that we’d like to hear.

But if we’re really committed to improving our course, we need to get to the heart of any problems and really understand what the issues are. It might be uncomfortable, but it’s the only way of moving forward and bringing about tangible change.

A typical lightweight question might be: "Did you feel that the course was worthwhile and a good use of your time?"

A much more insightful but tougher question is: "What was it that nearly made you quit the course before the end?"

It’s brutal, but will definitely winkle out an honest response. If the participant senses that you really are after honest feedback, they’re much more likely to give it.

Constant Contact’s How to write good survey questions provides some excellent advice on how to frame your trickier questions.

5. Ask Too Many Yes/No, Closed Questions

Most feedback surveys are almost entirely made up of tick box or yes/no questions. These are very useful in that they allow the user to answer a large number of questions very quickly. They also make the analysis of the survey overall very straightforward.

But ask too many tick box questions and you can easily end up with a bland survey that doesn’t really give us anything very useful.

Make sure your surveys give ample opportunities for elearners to write a free hand response to your questions. Unprompted insights are often the most useful.

Survey Monkey has helpfully provided a number of training survey templates that can help give you inspiration for the type of questions that you could ask.


Post-course feedback surveys remain one of the powerful ways that you can make your future courses more effective and profitable.

Make sure you don’t waste the opportunity to get feedback that you can actually use to make positive changes.

It’s brave and slightly unnerving, but your future elearners will thank you for it.