How to Conduct Student Feedback Surveys the Right Way

Colleges are notoriously bad at actually getting students to respond to their feedback surveys. Either a professor turns feedback into a graded assignment. Or you get inundated once a week to fill out a 20+ question survey for each class you have.

It infuriated me as a student. But never enough to actually fill out a survey. One semester I had an awful professor. I eagerly waited until the end of the year to provide my honest feedback, until the time actually came. I was halfway through the long survey when I realized I could be using my time in more productive manners. So I never finished the survey.

And I never thought about filling out another survey again.

Student feedback surveys, the wrong way

Colleges do several things wrong when trying to obtain feedback from their students.

Mistake #1 – Long surveys

Traditional long form surveys have never been a fan favorite of respondents. This is especially true as the first generation to have smartphones in their childhood start to grow up and attend college.

Technology has spawned a generation with little to no patience. When you can Google any question and get an answer in a couple seconds, your patience starts to dwindle. This is especially true for surveys where students feel like they won’t be benefitted in any way for answering.

Mistake #2 – No benefit

The only benefit I would’ve gotten if I completed the feedback surveys in college was that my inbox wouldn’t be inundated with survey requests every week. But there was absolutely no other benefit. And each survey took at least 20 minutes or more to complete. So why would any student waste their time?

Further, these students you are asking for feedback from will likely never have the same professor twice. So asking for feedback at the end of the semester could only help future students. Again, why would any student waste their time?

Mistake #3 – New survey requests every week

Maybe I would’ve been more privy to provide my feedback if I wasn’t emailed multiple times every single week asking for feedback for each of my classes. Perhaps even worse is I responded once and asked if they would please stop sending these requests to my email. Nope. It was on autopilot until you actually responded.

Mistake #4 – Surveys are filled with friction

Lastly, there’s friction at every step of providing feedback. First, you need to choose which class you want to provide feedback for. Which might seem easy, but the subject lines are all the same, so you need to open each email just to see what class it’s about.

Then, you need to click on a link in the email to go to an external site. On this site, you have to enter your student ID, username, and password before you can even begin. And then there are the 20+ minutes of answering questions.

All of that is friction. And the more friction your surveys have, the greater chance they won’t be finished or accurate.

Student feedback surveys, the right way

Correction #1 – One question surveys

One question surveys are self-explanatory. You only get to ask one question at a time, so you need to make it count.

Instead of fatiguing your customers with question after question after question, only asking one question lets you focus on one problem at a time. You’ll get more responses and they’ll be more accurate. And it makes acting upon the data much easier.

Click here to start your free trial to YesInsights. 

Correction #2 – Benefit the responders

Now you don’t have to give away gifts or extra credit to provide a benefit to the students that answer your surveys. A benefit could (and should) be to act upon their feedback and try to improve their experience.

Students are essentially customers, so you should treat them like it. You should ask for feedback that could serve them, which means you’ll need to ask for feedback before the end of the semester.

And students won’t despise answering your feedback surveys if you only ask them one question and they start seeing improvements made based on their responses.

Correction #3 – New survey requests every week

When you reduce the number of questions you are asking from 20+ to 1, then you give yourself some leeway to ask for feedback more often. And you should be frequently asking students for their feedback and making changes while they’re still enrolled in that specific class.

If you wait to ask for feedback until the semester is over, you just won’t get students to eagerly answer your surveys.

Correction #4 – Eliminating all the friction

When you use a survey software such as YesInsights, you eliminate all the potential friction from your old surveying ways. YesInsights eliminates the friction involved in providing feedback because our surveys naturally embed into any email provider.

So your students would only have to click on one link in their email to provide feedback. Afterward, they are prompted to add additional comments if they want. It would only take a few seconds to answer a feedback survey, rather than 20+ minutes.

One-click surveys only make sense to use across college campuses in this technological age.

John is the Marketing Lead at YesInsights. John is motivated by a desire to make other's lives easier, particularly through digital means. He is fascinated by seeing other businesses grow, and that's how John landed at YesInsights.

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