I thought the title might catch a few extra glances. Who would have thought that there was something sexy going on with all those trainer happy sheets? For one, I did.

Happy sheets, for those uninformed, are those polled results you provide at the end of a seminar. It is where you get the opportunity to rate the instructor and provide valuable feedback on how the seminar/course can be improved in the future. For the most part, the stakeholder (those people who sponsor the programs) take these sheets and quickly look at them and then forget them.

What a waste!

Happy sheets are more than just a quick analysis of how a particular program was conducted. They are more than an ‘off-the-cuff’ judgement of the instructor. They are more than feedback for the sponsors. When used properly, the can provide a valuable path for improving the course and building on the knowledge that the participants/delegates/students received while attending.

First, they represent how the instructor engaged the delegates. It reports how effective was the trainer in keeping the material fresh and the thirst for-more high with the students. Was there a dead spot in the program? Was there just too much high-capacity knowledge to absorb? Was there balance with the presentation? Was the use of multi-media effective in providing alternative knowledge retention paths for the students? Having this information is effective in allowing the course creators to improve upon in, insuring more effecting training in the future.

Secondly, the happy sheets can provide a more useful determinant in the creation and purpose of the learning-paths. Were the students overwhelmed with the material? Do they need a more basic preparation program? Was there even a preparation program? Once you have a clear understanding of what was taught, then you can measure for what was learned. Knowing this then allows for the continuance of a program development.

Third, the happy sheets can provide effective feedback to the instructor. If you have never been an trainer, let me share with you a secret… it is tough! Your ability to remain conversational, to remain connected with your class, your ability to provide ‘vim and vigor’ to your presentation is HARD WORK. Knowing where you let up and let down allows for correction. Training, like any muscle requires exercise and constant work. Like exercise, training has to be practiced and improved. The happy sheets, from the trainer perspective, is golden (but only if you use them to improve).

The final value in happy sheets, assuming that someone actually put some thought in to their creation, is that they provide a tracking mechanism on the attitude and preparation of the students. Way too many programs are initiated and attended with ill prepared and ill informed students. When are stakeholders going to recognize that delegate preparation is almost as important as the actual course and learning-path created by your training department.

My recommendations to many coordinators and stakeholders is to spend the time with the valuable metric. Put as much thought into its creation and evaluation as you put into the program. Measure everything. Take those measurements as a guide to improve what you have designed.

“Proper measurement systems are essential. You must keep score, assess and provide feedback to all employees.” — Bill Creech (The Five Pillars of TOM)

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Bryant Nielson is heavily involved in the Corporate Training and Leadership and Talent space. He currently is the Managing Director for CapitalWave Inc and the training division, Financial Training Solutions. He brings a diverse corporate experience of organizational development, learning and talent development, and corporate training, that also includes personal coaching of top sales individuals and companies of all sizes. For the prior 4 years, Bryant was the Managing Director and Leadership and Talent Manager for Lengthen Your Stride! LLC. In this position, Nielson was the developer of all of the courses for MortgageMae University (MMU), the Realtor Development Center (RDC), and of Lengthen Your Stride! (LYS). In that position, he developed material, refined over many years of use and active training, and condensed the coursework and training to be high impact, natural learning, and comprehensive. Bryant has over 27 years of Senior Management experience encompasses running his own Training and mortgage firm, in New York City. He strongly believes that the corporate training is not to be static but should 'engage and inspire' students to greater productivity and performance.