Gathering Feedback from Students: 7 Secrets

June 22, 2023

Asking your students for feedback on your online course is one of the best ways to figure out what’s working and what needs improvement.

As an expert, you’re so experienced with your course subject matter that it’s not always easy to break all of your knowledge down into a digestible and engaging curriculum. 

Gathering feedback from students can help you understand what you’re doing right and where you need to adjust your teaching methods to improve the learning experience. 

Asking for feedback can also improve student engagement, increase accountability, and lead to better learner results. Yet, many online course creators don’t know where to start with gathering feedback from students. 

In this article, we’re going to break down the best ways to incorporate feedback methods in your course and give you our exclusive strategies for gathering feedback from students. 

Why Gather Student Feedback as an Online Course Creator?

Research shows that having a well-developed feedback strategy in place can improve teachers’ effectiveness by up to 30%. 

Regularly collecting feedback from your students can help you to: 

  • Understand your learners better
  • Create more effective course materials 
  • Make your students feel valued & appreciated
  • Improve your teaching skills 
  • Get new ideas & inspiration to create additional online courses 

Gathering feedback from students is often an overlooked step in the course creation process, so I’m sharing my top seven tips on how to effectively do it below. 

7 Ways to Gather Student Feedback on Your Online Course

  1. Pre-Course Questionnaires or Self Assessments

It’s important to get the student learning experience off to a good start. 

Kicking your course off with a questionnaire or a survey is a great way to gain insight into your students’ minds as well as show them that you’re interested in hearing their voices & opinions. 

You can ask them questions about: 

  • Their learning expectations 
  • Whether they have any previous background with the subject matter
  • If they have any questions or concerns
  • What they want to get out of your online course
  • What they’re struggling with right now 

Depending on the nature of your course, you can reach out to individual students to discuss their responses. Alternatively, you can use it only for your own research purposes. 

  1. Create Opportunities for Anonymous Feedback

It’s important for your students to feel comfortable expressing their thoughts about their experiences with your course content. 

Even though in certain circumstances it’s essential to know who the feedback is coming from, it’s important to also create opportunities for your students to share anonymously. It can help them become more open and honest. 

Setting up a welcoming & accepting environment is key to gathering feedback from students that’s insightful and informative. 

  1. Integrate Feedback into the Course Content

Giving feedback should never feel like a hassle to your students. You can make the feedback process feel organic by building feedback loops into your course material. 

Quizzes, mini-surveys, and checkpoints are great ways to quickly assess your student’s progress and identify areas where more support & explanation is needed. 

If you see that there’s a particular module or lesson where your students are falling behind, you may consider supplementing it with additional content or a check-in call with you so that you can identify why the student is struggling. 

You can ask your students questions like: 

  • How did you enjoy this lesson/module? 
  • What’s been the most challenging part of this lesson/module? 
  • What questions do you still have? 
  • Is there a part of the lesson/module that you wish we’d spent more time on?  
  • What are your biggest takeaways from this lesson/module? 

You can ask for feedback after a big milestone (ex: finishing half of the course) or at the end of each lesson or module. Many online course platforms give you an opportunity to incorporate feedback loops through the use of surveys, assessments, and quizzes. 

  1. Focus on Qualitative Questions 

The key to getting good feedback is asking your students qualitative and specific questions. 

Qualitative questions require more than a simple yes or no answer.

For example, instead of asking your students a general question like, “Did you like this module?,” it’s a better idea to ask them questions like: 

  • What content in this module was most useful to you? 
  • What do you think is more challenging to apply or integrate into your life? 
  • Where in your life will you be able to apply this content right away? 

In other words, strive to ask questions that spark conversation. 

  1. Use Different Formats

Using the same format to gather feedback can quickly get repetitive. For better results, incorporate a mix of formats into your student feedback strategy. 

Ways in which you can gather student feedback include: 

  • Quizzes
  • Course evaluation surveys
  • Polls
  • Open-ended questions
  • Focus groups
  • Discussion boards 
  • Interviews
  • Self-assessments 

Switch things up – include different feedback formats at different phases of the course. 

For example, you can incorporate short quizzes after each module or conduct surveys at significant milestones of the course. Alternatively, ask your students to discuss open-ended questions on a discussion board or break them up into focus groups. 

  1. Offer Office Hours

Depending on the nature of your program, you may consider offering office hours. 

Office hours means making yourself available either through video conferencing or phone calls to your students so they can ask questions or talk through their concerns during certain times over the course of the week. For example, you can set your office hours to be on Mondays from 3 pm to 5 pm. 

Office hours is also a great opportunity to learn more about what your students need from you and to get their feedback on your course materials. 

  1. Take Action

While it’s important to collect student feedback, it’s even more important to actually apply it and use it. 

Once you’ve accumulated sufficient insight from your students to get a better understanding of what’s working great & what needs tweaking, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start updating your course content (or creating a new offer!). 

Don’t just collect feedback to collect feedback. Act on it! 

I always recommend course creators update their course content at least once a year.

Ready to Share Your Expertise?

Online learning is booming, but creating a successful online course is a demanding & time-consuming endeavour. 

Here at DB Course Strategies, our goal is to create high-quality course curriculums that support your values & illuminate your expertise.

If you’ve been curious about the opportunities online learning offers & want to add a new revenue stream to your business, learn more about our done-for-you course creation services today

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