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Plan for Better Learner Engagement with a Well-Designed Student Survey

May 26, 2022 | 7 Min Read

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No other opinion is quite as valuable as that of your users.

Surveys are a time-honored tradition and remain one of the most relevant tools for understanding users' needs. Surveys will help you identify users’ challenges, measure the effectiveness of your learning program and improve the user and learner journey. 

know your learner better

Learning how to create a survey that is relevant to your organization's objectives will provide countless advantages, and will work as a phenomenal tool that will help you achieve your organizational goals while improving the learner's experience. 

If you don’t know how your learners feel about your online training courses and the LMS platform that you host them on, you will find that your sales are sure to decline. Course surveys for online learning are a crucial part of the student engagement strategy for any company or association selling online learning.

In this guide, we will outline best practices for companies selling learning. You will learn:

  1. The benefits of feedback and course surveys 
  2. The benefits of automating learner and buyer surveys
  3. Types of surveys
  4. Types of student survey questions
  5. Mistakes to avoid while collecting feedback
  6. Surveying the learner’s journey
  7. How to collect and analyze survey data
  8. Interactive course lessons designed to engage learners


Surveys Improve the Learner Experience

Collecting data to make better-informed decisions is nothing new. Having a survey strategy in place that automates the process puts you in the driver’s seat. First, you need to determine what you want to improve and build a survey around those goals. Then, repeat this for all departments and organizational goals. 

For example, if you are looking to improve engagement with a specific course and want to know what your students didn’t like about it, you can provide a list of six to eight-course elements and ask them to rank it from least enjoyable to most enjoyable.

Benefits of Feedback Surveys 

A vital piece to growing revenues, feedback surveys will allow you to make incremental adjustments across all areas of your business, creating a rich customer and user experience that is based on customer data insights. Automating surveys will:

  • Improve the way you sell your products and services

  • Help in understanding customer satisfaction 

  • Identify consumer's wants and needs 

  • Build customer loyalty by always tending to their needs 

  • Improve the buyer experience 

Benefits of Course Surveys

  • Improve content quality, course design, and the efficacy of the instruction

  • Help in determining course performance, course engagement, and how comfortable and happy the learners are with the course design

  • Identify the learning path and upselling course opportunities

  • Build customer loyalty by always tending to their needs 

  • Improve the buyer and learning experience 

  • Reveal learners’ intentions 


The Power of Automating Surveys 

Automation makes it much easier to achieve each of your respective goals quicker and more efficiently. It will also save you time and resources by automating the surveys with triggers. 

One of the greatest benefits of automating your surveys is that the results are immediate. Surveys reveal dissatisfaction in real-time, allowing you to make necessary adjustments. When you automate, you can expect a consistent dataset on a regular basis, allowing you to constantly analyze and improve your offering. 

For example, you can set up a simple one-question buyer’s survey immediately after any item is purchased in your online store. This can be as simple as “How was your buying experience?”, and if it was anything less than 4 stars, you can have a message box appear that prompts the buyer to describe any problems they may have had. 

This provides you with data in real-time and allows you to make changes immediately. Automating surveys is also relatively simple to scale.

When it comes to customer satisfaction and learner experience surveys, you want a larger degree of flexibility where you can measure several different sentiments like satisfaction, agreement, desirability, and frequency. For example, if you wanted to evaluate your course instructor, you can ask:

  • Very satisfied

  • Somewhat satisfied

  • Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied

  • Somewhat dissatisfied

  • Very dissatisfied


You can easily use rating to gauge the level of engagement that your learners have with course materials and resources, specifically.

For example, you can ask a question like, “I have no problems accessing all of the materials and resources required for each lesson”: 

  • Strongly agree

  • Agree

  • Neither agree nor disagree

  • Disagree

  • Strongly disagree

Sending out engagement surveys regularly throughout the learner's journey will give you a quick snapshot of how well your learners are progressing at that moment. It’s easy to set up and provides mounds of useful insights.

Types of Student Survey Questions

Again, depending on what your learning business or association’s learning goals are, you can uncover a treasure trove of insightful data. When it comes to survey questions, there are two areas of focus: question type, and the actual question. 

Questions types can be posed in the form of: 

  • Multiple choice

  • Radio buttons

  • [Short] text

  • Long text

  • Dropdown menus

  • Rating scales

  • Likert scaled

The types of questions you ask will determine the quality of answers you receive. 

Assignments are one of the topics that is often favored by survey designers, as it reveals so much about the learner. While it reinforces the course material, too many assignments will turn a learner away. L&D teams have a good idea of how long the average student requires for their assignment for each respective course. If your learners are spending too much or too little time on assignments, it could signal a problem with the learner, the course, or both. 

You gain these insights simply by asking how many hours per week they spend completing assignments:

  • >1

  • 1-2

  • 2-5

  • 5-10

  • <10

Student survey questions provide real-value insights that reveal trends that will allow you to improve your offering and the learner’s experience. Often, asking open-ended questions will allow you to get more granular with your insights. 

Here is a list of some of the more common and revealing questions.

survey questions

Mistakes to Avoid While Collecting Feedback

While feedback surveys are vital to your success, it is very easy to make mistakes when designing course surveys. Poorly designed surveys can lead to Straight Lining which is when learners respond with near-identical items to each question, using the same response scale. This will certainly reduce the quality of your data. 

Common among poorly designed surveys are questions that lead the learner and cause survey bias. According to

Survey bias means that the question is phrased or formatted in a way that leads people to choose a certain answer instead of another. The same applies if your questions are hard to understand, making it difficult for customers to answer honestly.

Survey bias stems from poorly chosen questions and leads the learner one way or another. To truly make the necessary improvements in your learning business, you must focus on objective data. There is a reason that a lawyer cannot lead a witness, the same is true with survey design. 

Here are some examples of leading student survey questions:

Leading Question: How great was your instructor this year? 1 - 10

Fixed: How would you rate your instructor overall? 1 -10

Leading Question: Did you experience any problems with the course? 1 -10

Fixed: How likely would you recommend the course? 1 -10

Because the quality of the questions determines the quality of your results, you need to understand how to design your survey by avoiding asking the wrong questions

Surveying the Learner’s Journey

A learner starts as a user on your website and they go through the user experience until they start to seriously consider taking advantage of your offering. This is where the buyer experience begins and continues until they make the initial purchase and become your learner. 

From user to buyer to learner, there are countless opportunities for you to use automated, trigger-based course surveys to better the experience and build brand loyalty. 

After the student has enrolled, they will proceed to set up their online profile. Signing on to their profile can prompt a personalized survey welcoming the learner to the course.  This all-important survey can be used to determine their intentions, and their level of knowledge and potentially reveal any obstacles that may prevent the student from progressing. 

As they move through the lessons, you will have ample opportunities to survey the student to obtain feedback on everything from learner experience to instruction. Upon completion of the program, an exit survey must be sent where you can receive feedback on anything from course content to instructional design. 

feedback & ratings by students matter

How to Collect and Analyze Data

If your LMS offers automated, trigger-based surveys, then you should be able to easily analyze the data, which can be Net Promoter Score surveys that you can send regularly. On its own, data doesn’t mean anything, but when it’s part of your dashboard, you can easily use a visual interface to look for trends and develop reports. 

It is not difficult to learn how to read survey reports and look for the trends that will help you improve your buyer and learner experience. It will aid you in understanding learner sentiment and allow you to find ways to improve those data points that require it.

Interactive Course Lessons Designed to Engage Learners

No one wins with a poor learning experience.

Smart learning businesses and associations understand that having a variety of student engagement techniques is the key to completion and improved course sales. It’s only natural that they use the most innovative technologies proven to deepen comprehension and foster engagement. Make no mistake, if you are still using text-based learning, accompanied by a video or slideshow, then you will certainly fail.

Understanding the power behind H5P technology and methodologies such as the Flipped Classroom or Blended learning is how successful learning companies thrive. This is a crucial part of your success. 

Instead of reading from a book or .pdf, imagine a learner reading a story or watching a video where they are provided challenges or ‘dilemmas’ along the way. Depending on how they respond will determine the next course of action. This self-paced lesson puts the learner in charge by allowing them to choose their own way while deepening their comprehension by interacting directly with the course material. 

There are several dozen different content types and applications available for a design that will revolutionize the way your students learn and leave them wanting more. 

Take Action

Now that you have a clear understanding of why a course survey is critical to your success and the learner experience, you can start to take action. If your LMS currently does not support this function, then consider one that does. You can learn how to create a survey for students in minutes and send it out immediately. 

Student course surveys can identify learning challenges and help measure how effective your learning program is. By having access to multiple survey types and asking quality questions, you will know exactly what your learners think and can respond appropriately, providing an unrivalled learning experience. 

If your LMS platform does not offer surveys, then you need to seriously book your consultation today!

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