How to Write Better Smile Sheets: What’s Wrong With Traditional Training Evaluation Forms and How to Make Them Better

Smile-Sheet-GraphicIf you’re in training, you’re probably familiar with the sheets that trainers pass out to learners after a training session, asking the learners to evaluate the training session and the trainer.

These are known by a variety of names. Maybe you call them training-evaluation forms, or student-response forms, or trainee-reaction forms. But they’re also commonly–maybe most commonly–known as smile sheets.

Why smile sheets? Because it’s common for the learners attending training to give the training/trainer high scores that make everyone smile. But the common assumption is that the trainees do that politely, kindly, quickly, uncritically, and without giving any great thought. And so the term smile sheet is generally used somewhat dismissively, with the assumption that the information they contain doesn’t really provide a lot of value. Or, they’re assumed to hold much valuable information, even if that’s not really true due to poor design.

And yet, quite a few trainers continue to use smile sheets, and many of those trainers do nothing to improve them. Maybe they’ve never even thought of improving their smile sheets. It’s all become a bit of a habit to them, one they don’t think about because there’s so much else to think about, worry about, and to do.

I recently read a very good book called Performance-Focused Smile Sheets: A Radical Rethinking of a Dangerous Art Form by Dr. Will Thalheimer. The book explains some of the common problems with smile sheets, but also gives some very helpful tips to help make them better. We definitely suggest that you buy and read the book, and we’ve included a bunch of information to help you do that at the bottom of this article.

But for now, let’s look at some of the general points Thalheimer makes in his book and see what we can learn from them.

If you’re extra curious on this topic, I recommend you check out our interview with Dr. Thalheimer on smile sheets after you read this introduction.
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On-Demand Webinar: Developing Effective Safety Training

Developing Effective Safety Training Webinar Image

Want to know the hidden secret to developing effective safety training materials?

Actually, there’s no hidden secret. But there ARE some well-known, tried-and-true methods, and they’re documented in ANSI Z490.1, the national standard of Criteria for Accepted Practices in Safety, Health, and Environmental Training.

In this 30-minute, recorded, on-demand webinar, we introduce you to ANSI Z490.1, and focus on four aspects of developing effective EHS training that Z490.1 calls out:

  • Writing learning objectives that pass the ABCD and SMART tests
  • Using a blended learning solution for safety training and selecting training delivery methods based on the need for “adequate feedback”
  • Tips for developing effective safety training, including using credible information sources and following some best practices of instructional design
  • Evaluating safety training using Kirkpatrick’s four-level evaluation method

You can listen to our free, recorded webinar on Effective Safety Training at our Webinars page. 

And we’ve got a LOT more information for you about safety training if you keep on reading below.

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Helping Workers Acquire Basic Job Skills and Perform Standard Procedures

Teaching Workers Basic Job Skills and Procedures Image

In every job, there’s a set of basic skills and simple procedures that a worker filling that job has to learn to perform.

For an organization to perform at peak efficiency, it’s important that the workers in each job role know how to perform each of these skills and procedures.

But how does a company go about teaching those basic skills and procedures? How can employers help workers develop these skills and knowledge quickly and efficiently? And how does the company know if the workers can perform those procedures?

That’s what we’re going to look at in this article.
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Free Surface Mine Physical Environment Interactive Glossary

We’ve been revamping our mining safety training e-learning library, in case you didn’t know.

What does that mean? Well, we’ve added a BUNCH of new courses, for one thing. We’ve spruced up older titles, adding new information when relevant and improving our graphics (our 3D animation capabilities become more and more impressive every year). And we’ve broken some of the courses up into shorter, more “bite-sized” learning activities to make them easier to watch and more effective learning experiences.

One of the courses we’ve updated is our General Physical Characteristics of Surface Mines (great for Part 46 New Miner and Annual Refresher, by the way). To show that off a bit and give you a free training resource, we’ve taken some of the terms, definitions, and images from that course and made the free interactive glossary below.

There are two ways you can enjoy this free resource. The first is to just play it here from our blog. You can do that any time you wish. The second is to download your own free copy and then import it into your SCORM-compliant LMS. We’ve included more information about that second option below.
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Training that Helps Employees Learn Basic Job Knowledge

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As a producer of learning management systems (LMSs) that are designed to let you to use a variety of different training delivery methods in a blended learning solution, we give a lot of thought to how employers can create the “best” blend.

Actually, we don’t think there’s any one simple answer to that question that you can apply every time. There are various ways to look at it, and each make sense in different circumstances.

However, one idea that we’re big fans of when creating a blended learning solution is to select the training delivery method (example–e-learning, written, video, field-based OJT, instructor-led classroom training, etc.) by considering the type of training material (the information) that you’re trying to convey, and/or the employee’s need for practice and feedback during training.

We’ve introduced that method of creating a blended learning solution in an earlier article. In this article, we’re going to take a deeper look at one aspect of the blend–training that’s designed to help employees acquire base-level, foundational knowledge that doesn’t require a lot of practice or feedback.

In other related articles, we’ve addressed training to help employees learn to basic job skills and procedures and training to help employees develop advanced job skills.
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How to Write Multiple-Choice Questions for Workforce Training

writing-mc-test-questions-for-online-training-activities-imageA lot of you write test questions for online training. Or even paper-based tests you’re still delivering the old-fashioned way (good on you!).

Maybe you’re doing it with an eLearning authoring tool, such as the ones from Articulate, Adobe, or Lectora.  Or maybe the learning management system (LMS) you use at work has a built in tool for creating online quizzes.

No matter how you’re writing tests for training, you may sometimes find yourself wondering about the best practices for writing standard question types. (By the way, instructional designers often use the wonky phrases “assessment” for a test and “assessment item” for a question within a test.)

We’ve got a few of those best practices for you below. Hope this helps you with your question writin’. 🙂
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Free Paper Manufacturing Interactive Glossary

free interactive paper manufacturing glossary

Here’s a cool interactive glossary of terms commonly used in the papermaking industry. Watch it here as many times as you want whenever you want. Or you can even download a free copy for yourself.

We’ve focused on some basics, and drew the images, terms, and definitions from two of our paper manufacturing e-learning courses: Pulping and Papermaking Overview and Introduction to Paper and Board Machines.

Of course, these are just two of MANY paper manufacturing titles we offer, but it’s a nice place to begin.

Hope you enjoy this glossary. Don’t forget to check out our paper manufacturing e-learning library while you’re here, too, or even download our two free guides to training in the paper manufacturing industry: Paper Manufacturing Training–the Basics and The Guide to Online Training for Paper Manufacturing.

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10 Reasons to Consider Online Safety Training: Case Studies + Examples

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Many work places use quite a bit of online training for EHS training, while others still haven’t made the online plunge.

If you’re not using it now, and perhaps are on the fence, you should know that there are plenty of reasons to use online EHS training for a safer workplace. Online training has proven itself, showing it can make training itself more effective in many instances; that it can reduce the cost of training (especially for large workforces or workforces that are spread over a great distance); that it can greatly reduce the time, effort, and cost necessary to administer training; and that it can provide a welcome element of variety to training for employees.

Read on for more reasons to consider adding an online aspect to your current EHS training program.

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New EHS Training Courses Available: DOT HAZMAT Safety; Respirator Basics; Blocking and Cribbing for Heavy Equipment; Metal-on-Metal Safety;

Here are the new courses we added to our EHS Training Library last month.

You can also just check all of the titles in our EHS training library and our Mining Safety training library.

We’ll keep announcing new courses each month as they roll out, so stay tuned for more.

You can view samples of each course below, but contact us for a demo for full-course previews.

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Tracking Training-Related EHS Leading Indicators

tracking-training-related-EHS-leading-indicatorsIn a recent article on EHS leading indicators, we touched on the topic of training-related EHS leading indicators. Meaning, stuff directly related to EHS training that can be used as a leading indicator for measuring general EHS performance at a company.

Since we’re a training company and offer a lot of EHS training solutions, we thought we’d double-back to that issue and show you how you can track some of those EHS leading indicators that are related to EHS training.

By tracking these, along with other EHS leading indicators, you can really begin to gather meaningful and actionable data about the performance of your EHS management system as a whole.
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New Manufacturing Training Courses Available: Operator Basic Care; Lubrication Basics

Here are the new courses we added to our Manufacturing Training Library last month.

You can also just check all of the titles in our following libraries:

We’ll keep announcing new courses each month as they roll out, so stay tuned for more.

You can watch samples of the new courses below, or contact us to set up a demo and view full-length previews.

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How to Create Your Own Safety Training e-Learning Course-Recorded Webinar

Create Your Own Online Safety Training eLearning Course Image

Ever wish you could create your own safety training eLearning course that fits your particular training needs and is based on your own site-specific information?

You can, and this recorded webinar (below) shows you how. The webinar runs almost exactly an hour, and you can listen any time.

Once you know how to do this, you can make your own eLearning course anytime you want. Maybe even combine it with some off-the-shelf safety training eLearning courses for a nice blend of generic and custom, site-specific safety training eLearning at your workplace.

If you’d prefer the same information in a different format, we’ve got the same information in a written blog post including lots of helpful screen grabs. Or hey, you can check ’em both out! Why not?

Note: This webinar shows how to use an authoring tool created by Articulate. Many companies make similar authoring tools, and the tool used below isn’t the most recent created by Articulate. That point isn’t too important, though–the main idea is to show you the general idea of how to make your own online safety training course and show how relatively easy it can be.

Also, there’s a free Guide to Effective EHS Training below the webinar that you’re free to download if you’d like.
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