The evaluation of a training course is becoming a standard procedure; the training courses that are funded by European programmes or ESF have evaluation as a requirement, but it is expanding also in private funded training courses. Every training organization, more or less, has a procedure for the final evaluation of training courses. Typically, the evaluation is being done through an evaluation questionnaire. And then someone processes the questionnaires, analyses the results and provides suggestions and recommendations for improvement. Or at least, that is the way it should be…
I remember back in 2007, when we organized our first in-service training course for staff in adult education. Before that we had developed a large number of evaluation questionnaires for different purposes. But at that point, we decided to develop a standard questionnaire for our international training courses, one that we can use in every course and can help us improve ourselves. For the development of that evaluation questionnaire, we spent a lot of time. We worked in a team, to think about the aspects of the organization and delivery of the training course that we wanted to evaluate. There are so many things that we want to have the feedback of the trainees!! We want to know about the motivation of the trainees to choose our training course among so many others, we want to ask about the the quality of the training course and learning materials, for the trainers and for the social programme. We give particular emphasis to receive the comments of the participants, as with close questions we get the overall feeling but we cannot capture details. And we care very much about the details. We want to ask everything, but we also want a short questionnaire, so that people can fill-it-in in 5 minutes. We spent time to phrase carefully the questions, to revise the questionnaire again and again to make it short but comprehensive. And after using the questionnaire in that first evaluation course, we revised it once more.
Now, in every training course that we organize since then, we use the same standarised questionnaire. Therefore, we can compare results over time and improve our services continuously. With the time, we have improved many aspects of the training course and now we think that we have reached high quality standards.
Two weeks ago, we organized a five-days training course for a team of 10 women entrepreneurs and managers from the Kaunas Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts in Lithuania. The group consisted of high qualified trainees; most of them had postgraduate degrees and extensive working experience in demanding positions. These women left their daily businesses for a week and they had high expectations from the training course. Our job was to deliver a high quality training course and provide also a social programme for first time visitors in Greece.
The evaluation showed an overall satisfaction, however, there were some points that were not so good and needed our attention. The points that were raised were not in our immediate influence: they complained about poor internet connection in the hotel and poor taxi services. The truth is that it was the first time to organize a training course in a hotel in Athens; we normally use our training room in Piraeus and we have a number of service providers including hotels, restaurants that we use and we trust. For this training course, we had selected a 4-star hotel in the centre of Athens, so that our hosts can minimize time spent on travelling and spend more time in sightseeing. The issue of the taxi drivers is known. We always inform our hosts that they should pay attention to taxi drivers.
Nevertheless, as a hosting organization, we need to keep our visitors satisfied in every aspect of their study visit. Therefore, following this experience, we have designed corrective actions for these two points, to minimize the same problems in the future.
In a competitive and challenging market, we cannot afford to rest, we need to continuously improve our quality assurance procedures, focusing on the satisfaction of our clients. With this in mind, we have to take very seriously all comments and not-so-good evaluation rates, deal with every little detail and continuously improve our services.
- Regarding the hotel, we have developed a check list and we will make sure that someone will pay a visit to the hotel to check everything before the organization of the training course.
- Regarding the taxi services, we will provide our hosts information about taxi companies and the option to prebook a taxi waiting in the airport.