Training Surveys: How To Run Them

Philip Cleave
October 13, 2023
Man running a training workshop

Whatever your type of training and its aims, it’s likely to be a significant investment both in time and money, so you’ll want to get it right for your employees and your business. Fortunately, if you run a training survey, with the feedback you get back you’ll be able to tell what you’re doing right and where you need to improve, so you can maximize the benefits of your training moving forward.

Typically, training surveys are created to help better inform how training sessions are delivered, as well as assessing how well they met that training’s original aims and goals.

What is a training survey

Essentially a training survey is an evaluation tool that allows you to gather information about a training session from participants.

It’s the process of gathering quantitative and qualitative insights from stakeholders, to help you improve the framework and processes of a specific training program.

There are two main types of training feedback survey.

Pre-training survey

The aim of the pre-training survey is to help better inform how you should run and deliver your training sessions, as well as what useful and relevant content you should include with them. It can also tell you about the existing knowledge of training survey participants, as well as their expectations, needs and wants.

Post training survey

Following your training sessions, a post training survey can help you to take an objective look at the outcomes of your training, making sure it fulfilled your goals, offered value for money, and will help inform future training programs.

Why run training surveys?

Given the UK’s much publicised ‘productivity gap’ the value of employee training and running regular training surveys to maintain the quality of that training has never been more important.

Not only this but the individual benefits to both staff and the business alike, are wide and varied, with key ones including.

  • A greater sense of employee self-worth
  • Increased performance and productivity
  • Reduced staff absenteeism and turnover
  • Happier customers.

Interestingly recent studies have claimed that the training spend per employee in the UK has fallen, plummeting by around 28%.

However, despite this rather alarming figure it’s not so much the actual amount you’re spending on training that’s important, but how you’re targeting that training and what value you’re getting back on it. This is important, because if you can spend it more wisely in the future, you’re likely to see more gains from staff training.

Ideally, you’ll want to tailor your training so that it positively impacts your organization’s key performance indicators (KPIs), such as:

  • sales growth
  • customer engagement
  • return on investment (ROI)
  • employee engagement
  • employee turnover

From their initial recruitment and onboarding to their development, retention and off-boarding. There’s lot of key stages in the employee lifecycle. So, if you’re able to run training and then training surveys at these key stages, not only will you be able to measure learning outcomes but track how that training has impacted an employee’s performance over time.

In addition, when you’re able to place your training survey data alongside other key employee feedback you’ve collected, such as performance reviews, staff engagement and productivity, you’ll be able to join the dots to see the stages where your training program has had the strongest impact on your employee lifecycle.

What to cover in your training survey

When it comes to training there are probably three fundamental areas that your leaders need to know the answers to, if they’re to assess how effective their training programs are.

The questions they need to be asking themselves include:

  1. How accessible are the learning opportunities in our organization?
  1. What quality of training do we offer?
  1. Are the skills learned in training being successfully transferred to the workplace and sustained over time?

These questions are designed to capture feedback from both those who are learning and their managers, to examine both the quality of training programs, training effectiveness and the extent to which the training has positively impacted the workplace.

Essentially, there are two main question types you can use to capture feedback:

Closed questions

The first of these called closed questions, help collect quantitative data, which is factual and easy to analyze. Closed questions typically feature single or multiple choice, Likert scale and rating or ranking type questions that are quick and simple to answer.

Open questions

By contrast, open-ended questions help gather qualitative data, which is subjective and based on opinion. With respondents able to answer in their own words, rather than being coerced into selecting an option as with closed question, open-ended questions require additional tools such as text or conversational analysis to make more sense of that data.

Crucial areas to measure and improve through training surveys

We’ve already talked about the importance of collecting survey feedback, before and after a training experience. But it’s also important to know what happens during the training itself, which can influence how effective that training is.

So, here’s some areas to think about before, during and following training sessions:

Pre-training survey questions

There are two key areas to measure at this stage that can help you assess how well you’re doing in terms of your learning culture and how easy you make training to access and enroll in to.


What sort of learning culture do we have at our organization?

Do we provide the right sort of climate to encourage and nurture learning and development?

These are the sorts of questions you need to be asking yourself, if you’re to gage how well your organization is doing in supporting learning and development.

If your organization is not good at supporting learning and sharing knowledge, your employees may find learning opportunities few and far between or be unable to apply what they’ve learned to their work.

Therefore, to better gage the climate within your organization, any pre-training survey you create should cover questions around access to training and the company’s learning culture such as.

I have good opportunities to learn and develop at this company

  • Totally agree
  • Somewhat agree
  • Neutral
  • Somewhat disagree
  • Totally disagree

My organization has adequate resources to support learning (e.g., professional development, funding, trainers, etc.)

  • Totally agree
  • Somewhat agree
  • Neutral
  • Somewhat disagree
  • Totally disagree

I am satisfied with the learning programs offered at this organization (Yes/No)


When it comes to learning, adults perform better when they want and can see the benefits of learning, rather than be coerced to do so.  They also need to feel that access to training is simple and readily available.

You need to understand if there are any difficulties with pre-training logistics and administration. If you can understand this, you’ll be better able to identify what learners find difficult about accessing training and any causes behind poor program adoption.

Questions about administration need to be asked to identify whether access to training information and enrolment is seamless.

Pre-training surveys don’t need to be very long, but they’re extremely helpful for identifying demand, knowledge gaps and training expectations.

Following your survey’s feedback, you’ll be able to tailor your training to better meet identified training needs.

During training survey questions

At this stage evaluation is all about measuring your learners’ reactions to the training itself. And it’s usually measured immediately after the training modules are completed.

Areas to think about include.


Accessibility is all about ensuring your training sessions and content are available to a diverse range of people with different needs and barriers to access, such as.

  • People with disabilities
  • Neurodivergent people
  • Older employees
  • People with access to only one device

When you consider all these needs and incorporate access for everyone into your training programs, you’ll increase engagement with that learning content.

To assist with this, you need to be asking your learners the following survey questions about accessibility:

I was happy with the course’s overall accessibility

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

The visual elements were sufficient and clearly presented

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

I was able to clearly see the trainer

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

I was able to clearly hear the trainer

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

Would you like to have seen more accessibility features? If yes, which ones? (open text)


Engaging content is not all about just being fun and interactive, it needs to be relatable from a learning point of view. Therefore, to make it engaging in learning terms, that training content needs to take into account what learners already know and build on this in the most appropriate way.

While content can be fun and interactive in places, it needs to be informative and detailed enough to help overcome any challenges and gaps in learning. The best content shouldn’t be designed to be consumed passively but stimulate behaviors that help make learning stick.

To find out how good learners found your content, you need to be asking them survey questions such as:

I was satisfied with the overall course content

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

The training materials were easy to understand

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

The training objectives were clear

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

The training was sufficiently interactive

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)


The significance and reach of good quality professional training will stand or fall on its delivery both in terms of how its presented and the method by which its material is delivered. When you actively, rather than passively engage learners, such as conducting a hands-on workshop as opposed to a lecture featuring a PowerPoint presentation, they’re more likely to:

  • Retain that learning content
  • Incorporate it in their own role and projects
  • Share what they’ve learned with co-workers

For learners who already have some knowledge of or expertise in, the training topics, good training delivery helps encourage a more robust conversation and interesting questions that help to engage the whole room.

To get learners feedback on the delivery element of your training, consider asking them survey questions such as the following:

I was satisfied with the training instructors

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

The trainer made enough time for questions

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

The trainer displayed a thorough knowledge of the training content

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

The trainer was well prepared

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

The trainer was able to hold my interest

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

Learning Management System (LMS)

An LMS is a popular online platform for distributing online training courses, storing them and also delivering, tracking and assessing training.

The LMS helps keep all your training content centralized, to give learners a single source they can go to for course content, instructions and questions. A further benefit of using an LMS is to easily gather data on training progress, learner satisfaction and costs.

When you have implemented an effective LMS, not only will you be able to offer more engaging and interactive courses, but it should give you a simpler, intuitive, reliable and more scalable system to use too.

To discover what learners thought about the LMS you use in your training, you might like to ask them some of the following survey questions:

I was satisfied with the training technology experience I received

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

I found the interface easy to use

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

I experienced no technical issues during the training (i.e. bugs, delays)

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

I knew where to find help if I needed it during the training

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

Were there any aspects of the learning platform you believe we could improve? (open text)


The structure is all about the design of the training program and how it helps enhance participants’ knowledge retention, so that they can later apply what they’ve learned to their role. A good course structure will involve:

  • Determining and planning the most appropriate activities to carry out
  • Selecting appropriate training methods
  • Helping learners to achieve their objectives
  • Identifying an appropriate training duration
  • Well-paced training
  • Training material that is structured logically and simple to follow

To examine how effective your training program design is, you might want to ask your learners survey questions such as the following.

I was satisfied with the course structure and flow

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

The training was structured in a logical manner

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

The duration of the training felt about right

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

The training had sufficient breaks

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)


If your training is not done remotely online, then the place where you train people will play a major role in how well they absorb information, as your training environment can affect your engagement as much as other resources you have to do your job.

If employees are to focus on training and learn effectively, you must create a comfortable space:

  • Technology should work seamlessly and reliably
  • The room’s temperature must be comfortable and controllable
  • Seats must be comfortable
  • Any catering must be of a high quality
  • There must be ample space to move around and still see the trainer.

To gage learner opinion on the venue you provided, you might want to ask them the following survey questions.

I was satisfied with the quality of the training venue

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

The room was set to a comfortable temperature

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

There was adequate food and refreshments

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

There was enough seating for both learners and trainers

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

Post training survey questions

The main aim of any training is for employees to take what they’ve learned and apply it in their jobs. This is crucial, as there’s no point to training if there are no positive changes in the office or on the shop floor following that training.

Subsequently, any post-training evaluation of the implementation and application of that learning is also an essential part of training surveys, which needs to consider factors including:

  • Motivation to learn
  • Work environment and support
  • The opportunity to practice newly acquired knowledge and skills

This stage also needs to examine the extent to which learners have been able to apply skills or adapt their behavior several months after the training has finished. However, it’s important to note that positive behavioral change as a result of training is only likely to happen with:

  • Manager support
  • Leaner motivation
  • The right conditions to practice new skills

It is for this reason that post-learning surveys need to ask for feedback from both learners and their managers too.

Manager support

When it comes to transferring what they’ve learnt in training to their jobs, one of the biggest barriers is having too few opportunities to apply their newly acquired skills in the workplace. And even if employees are given the time to learn, previous work duties take priority, meaning that many feel they don’t have sufficient time to apply what they’ve just learned.

Subsequently, you need to find out whether managers think a learner has used their newly acquired skills when they came back to work. Yet, the transfer of fresh learning can only happen if the right support is available to the learner. So, a survey can be used to understand what role managers play in supporting returning participants in their job development, and any barriers that may be getting in the way of applying new learning to the workplace.

Survey questions to ask managers that can help with this include the following:

Has {Name} achieved tangible results due to their latest training course? (Yes/No)

Has {Name} been able to confidently apply what they have learned to their work? (Yes/No)

What, if any, barriers do you see {Name} facing in their ability to make changes after participating in the training? (open-ended item)

Learner’s application of knowledge acquired

In tandem with the feedback, you’ve obtained from managers you can also reach out to staff who’ve undergone training to see how well they’re able to transfer and apply what they’ve learnt to their jobs.

Again, some helpful survey questions that can help you with this include asking your staff the following:

I was able to confidently apply what I learned in the training course to my job

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

I have received feedback that has helped me apply my newly acquired skills at work. (Yes/No)

I have discussed how to apply my training on the job with my manager. (Yes/No)

There have been no major obstacles preventing me from using the skills I learned during training.

(Rate your answer from ‘totally agree’ to ‘totally disagree’)

Which parts of your job have been most positively impacted by the training? (open-ended question)

Evaluating training with surveys: an ongoing process

We hope you found this blog interesting, and if you’re not already using them, you can see the value of incorporating surveys into your training process for both your staff and your business.

Besides the need to survey staff and managers alike, hopefully you can also appreciate the many areas you need to cover off in your survey if your training is to improve.

However, one of the biggest take-aways is the need for consistency. It’s no good surveying a particular training course as a one off and never looking at it again. If you’re to make the biggest improvements and deliver the greatest benefits for your employees and business, you need to be evaluating all your training on an ongoing basis.

Improve your training with the right survey templates and feedback

With many different departments and training needs, it can be challenging to know what sorts of questions will best meet the needs of different audiences and give you the best insight. Thankfully, by drawing on our many years of experience in the survey industry, we’ve been able develop a range of training survey templates that can help you with this.

Find out more

Get started and create your first survey

If you would like more information then please get in touch.