Training and development opportunities at work are highly beneficial to both employers and employees. From an organizational perspective, offering professional development helps you ensure your workforce acquires the skills and knowledge needed to continuously improve their performance.
From an employee’s perspective, training sessions provide added confidence and even boost job satisfaction. In fact, employees value professional development opportunities at work so much that it actually factors into their decision about whether to stay in a job or more on — companies that create a strong culture of learning see their retention rates improve by 30–50 percent.
However, it’s not enough for your organization to simply offer learning and development opportunities. Those opportunities must match the needs of both your employees and your business. How can you ensure the training you’re offering will help you reach your company objectives while supporting employees in the way they want?
It all starts with pre-training survey questions. Organizations need to assess what their employees already know and what they need to learn in order to create and offer training that makes an impact.
Below, we take a closer look at what pre-training surveys are all about and why you should consider using them. We’ll also provide tips for creating an effective survey, share some sample pre-training survey questions, and introduce a survey software you can use to enhance the survey-making process.
Pre-training surveys and their benefits
As the name suggests, a pre-training survey is a survey an organization gives its employees in preparation for creating or selecting the training materials for a professional development session.
One of the main reasons to conduct a pre-training survey is to assess employees’ prior knowledge. This can help you determine what material the training needs to cover — without being redundant for the employees. It’s also a good way to determine what employees are expecting to learn from the training.
Pre-training surveys pave the way for creating better training opportunities — those that are highly relevant and focused on future growth. From an employee perspective, a pre-training survey offers them a way to voice any concerns they may have about the proposed training and its content, as well as its structure, location, and schedule.
Tips for creating an effective pre-training survey
To ensure your pre-training survey succeeds in gathering the data your organization needs, follow these survey best practices:
- Determine a specific goal. For example, do you want to know what information employees already know so you can fill in the knowledge gaps, or are you more concerned about getting the right dates and times for the training?
- Keep the survey short. While it can be tempting to ask employees many detailed questions about training, this tactic may lead to incomplete surveys. Keep the survey short and focused to encourage completion.
- Use different question formats. To keep the survey interesting, vary the question formats. Close-ended question formats provide surface-level information, while open-ended question formats allow you to dig deeper for more details. Use a combination of both types of questions.
- Get the timing right. Send the survey well in advance of the actual training session. You need time to gather and analyze the results as well as tailor the training session based on the data you receive.
- Consider the tone. While many surveys take a conversational approach, a formal tone may be more effective in some organizations. Consider what type of approach your employees will respond well to and use that tone throughout the survey and learning materials.
- Have a plan. Determine how you’ll gather the data from the survey and organize it into analytical insights. It’s important to act on those insights when creating the training sessions.
Useful pre-training survey questions
Here are some examples of pre-training survey questions to consider, broken down into four categories.
Knowledge-based pre-training survey questions
These types of questions are designed to ascertain how much employees already know about the training topic. With this information in hand, you can design your training to fill in the knowledge gaps without being repetitive. Here are some knowledge-based pre-training survey questions to consider:
- What is your level of expertise on this topic?
- Have you taken any training or courses on this topic before?
- Would you consider yourself an expert on this topic?
- How relevant is this topic to your role?
- If there is one thing you’d like this course to cover, what would it be?
Expectation-based pre-training survey questions
These types of pre-training survey questions help you understand your employees’ expectations. While you can use this information to cater to your employees’ needs, you can also use it to set new expectations if their requirements aren’t aligned with organizational ones. Here are some examples of expectation-based pre-training survey questions:
- What would you like to get out of this training session?
- What materials do you hope this training session will cover?
- What do you think this training should not cover?
- How long do you think this training session should be?
- Do you expect that this training session will take place during work hours?
Learning style-based pre-training survey questions
There are many different learning styles in the workplace. Some employees learn better with visual aids, while others prefer to listen to instructions, for example. Before you design training, it’s beneficial to find out the different ways your employees learn so you can present the material in formats that are easy for everyone to understand. Here are some learning style-based pre-training survey questions to ask:
- Are you a visual learner?
- Do you prefer to learn via lectures or hands-on sessions?
- What kinds of learning aids do you need to succeed in this training course?
- What is your learning style?
- How can we help increase your retention of the knowledge you’ll gain from this training session?
Logistics-based pre-training survey questions
The date, time, and location of a training session is as important as the material or format. If employees can’t attend, then the material itself is irrelevant. So it’s vital to check in regarding any logistical issues or hurdles before scheduling a training session. Here are some examples of logistics-based pre-training survey questions:
- What are your top three dates for the training session?
- What are your top three time slots for the training session?
- Is this location convenient and accessible for you to attend the training session?
- Do you have the technology required to access the training session online?
- Which training session location do you prefer?
Jotform for pre-training surveys and more
Whether you need to develop pre-training surveys, post-training surveys, or other types of surveys, you can do it with Jotform.
Online form builder Jotform ensures that the process of creating and distributing surveys is easy and simple. Jotform comes with hundreds of survey templates, such as training consultation forms, training signup forms, health questionnaires, fitness questionnaires, informed consent forms, and more. You can fully customize each template down to its text, structure, and design, so you can be sure your pre-training survey meets your exact standards.
All Jotform surveys and survey data are also highly secure, which means that any personal or proprietary data remains safe and confidential.
Not only does Jotform support survey creation and distribution, but it also makes analyzing the results easier as well. With Jotform Tables, a no-code spreadsheet-database tool, you can collect, organize, and manage the data you gather. Jotform Report Builder helps turn that data into attractive and clear visual reports that make insights easy to act on.
Get started designing your organization’s next professional development training session today with Jotform.
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