Feedback Surveys

Students of Mandt System, Train the Trainer events have always filled out paper evaluations at the end of the course. Traditionally Mandt National faculty have received high scores on our evaluations. One of the changes with our new system and our attempts at reducing the amount of paper we use is that evaluations are now completed online after the event has ended. Since switching to the online evaluations our instructor scores have been dropping. I’m not saying this to complain about it. If there is something that we are changing that people do not like, lower scores should be expected. If, however, there is something else at work, we may all, staff and students alike, want to look into this.

One possible explanation for lower instructor scores could be that people felt pressured to give high scores because they knew the trainer was collecting their evaluations and could look at them. No one really wants to hurt anyone’s feelings or say bad things to or about them before that person decides whether or not you have passed. So, this could have been artificially inflating our scores.

Another, and closely related possibility, is online flaming. Not only are students not worried about the trainer seeing the specific scores they were given by each student, but the anonymity of the online world can lead to flaming. Flaming is the increase of negative reactions because we feel less connected to the person on the other end of our scores or communication. Think about it, have you ever written a scorching email at the heat of the moment? Hopefully you were able to save it, read it, and make appropriate changes before hitting the send button. It is possible people are flaming with their evaluations.

A third possible explanation may be that once people get home and think about their life, work, and Mandt, the experience of their training session is not as magical as they originally thought it was. In other words, they would give it high marks immediately after the event but a few days later the magic has worn off.

These are probably not the only three possible explanations. It is possible that our students in our Train the Trainer events are getting better and expecting more out of them. Maybe we are creating more honest relationships with our students and they feel freer to give us ‘true’ scores rather than artificially inflating them to make us feel better. Maybe it is something completely different. Maybe it is some combination of any of these possibilities.

I am hoping the explanation for the drop is something easily explained. I would like to think that all of our national faculty are good at creating positive, healthy relationships with our students. I would also hope that we create an atmosphere where carefronting (not confronting) can occur. If people really do have major concerns with something that happens during an event, I would like to think they feel secure enough in our relationship to talk with the faculty about it. As long as students are finding the Mandt Train the Trainer events useful, the bottom line is the scores should not matter. Thank you to everyone who fills out our feedback surveys with honest answers. Sometimes the truth does hurt.

This same idea of students filling out evaluations can be carried over to all local Mandt trainers with their staff and students. Do we provide our staff or students with opportunities to tell us what they really think about our work? Or, do we simply provide them a method of telling us how good we are? It is only when we have open and honest communication, or one could say assertive and authentic communication, that positive relationships thrive.

Dr.Dale Shannon – Mandt Faculty

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