I have now joined the survey-crazy culture. How? By making an evaluation for the service learning project for Brighton Center WIC.

What do I mean by survey-crazy culture? Try to go to a Taco Bell or Kroger or a website without being asked to take a survey! Evaluation crazyness! Soon restrooms may have a survey machine in them so we can give feedback on our experience!

As the ability to gather, store and analyze more data becomes easier, there is the illusion we can make better decisions with survey data.For example, I eat meals several times a week at the same Taco Bell. Each time I am asked to fill out an online survey. I overheard the manager suggesting to one employee to be more aggressive when asking customers to fill out the survey because he uses the data to justify who gets more hours. And it is not difficult to imagine the survey reflects back on his performance as a store manager. But can’t that turn into a popularity contest between the tellers?

So how does this affect an instructional designer who wants feedback from the trainees so he/she can improve the training? With the WIC survey we kept it simple and accessible. Of course we want as much level 1 data as possible so we can please our customer and improve our performance! But we had to put ourselves in the surveyee and surveyors shoes. The last thing the WIC caseworker needs is more paperwork to get lost or complicate their process. So we had to make it one page, that could even be formated to a half-page. Then we put ourselves in the surveyees shoes. There they are in the WIC office wrestling with a two year old, would they want a 3 page survey with complex language- no way.

This leaves a gap of information that we need to get deep level 1 data- especially important since our design had 3 methods of delivery. Would the client prefer a printed cookbook, webpage or video? Which do they believe is most comfortable to use? So hopefully we can schedule a time to go to the WIC office to do a deeper level 1 evaluation.

There is an art and a science to evaluation. It is deeper than the Kirkpatrick evaluation model.It is more than best practices. It is more than designing a survey. It is knowing and caring for both the data to make good decisions and the customers needs and feelings.

So, when you are ready to join the survey-crazy culture here is a great webpage that shows how to make online surveys with Google Docs!

See you in your next survey!


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