Paper vs. Online Evaluations

In the training world, this has the potential for a loaded debate. Now before I state my personal opinion, let’s clarify. The level evaluation I am referring to is “Level One” on the Kirkpatrick scale or also known as the infamous Smiley Sheet.

In my personal opinion, right now at this very moment, I am in favor of paper. Despite the undeniable benefits of being able to have electronic data for the purpose of analysis and also the environmental benefits of paper elimination. I have found that our adult learners as a majority are not ready to let go of paper yet.

Really my opinion comes down to two major points.

1. People are paranoid.

No matter the platform, there is always someone that believes we started using technology to trap them. So when they say that the training sucked, we can fire them. It’s complete nonsense to me, but that does not change the fact that the mentality exists.

2. There still seems to be a delay.

Once your participants leave the room, their personal agenda takes over. Guess what! Your evaluation is not at the top of the list. By the time they get to it, is it really accurate data to capture the initial reactions after attending a session. In my experience, I was lucky if I had a quarter of the participants complete the evaluation. Then the evaluations that were completed, were full of very unhelpful feedback like comments that state “Good” or “N/A” or my favorite “Egg Salad” (or some other completely random answer).

Online evaluations would be awesome and I am hoping (really hoping) they are a part of the future. Right now, in my opinion our learners, at least in the classroom, are not ready.


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