Do happy sheets work? Ask Traci Sitzman who has done the research. Her work on meta-studies, on 68,245 trainees over 354 research reports, attempt to answer two questions:
Do satisfied students learn more than dissatisfied students?
After controlling for pre-training knowledge, reactions accounted for:
- 2% of the variance in factual knowledge
- 5% of the variance in skill-based knowledge
- 0% of the variance in training transfer
The answer is clearly no!
Are self-assessments of knowledge accurate?
- Self-assessment is only moderately related to learning
- Self-assessment capture motivation and satisfaction, not actual knowledge levels
Self-assessments should NOT be included in course evaluations
Should NOT be used as a substitute for objective learning measures
Ever been asked at a conference or end of a training course to fill in a happy sheet? Don’t bother. It breaks the first rule in stats – randomised sampling. It’s usually a self-selecting sample, namely those who are bored, liked the trainer or simply had a pen handy. Students can be ‘Happy but stupid’ as the data tells you nothing about what they have learnt, and their self-perceptions are deceiving (see Traci’s research).
Sitzmann, T., Brown, K. G., Casper, W. J., Ely, K., & Zimmerman, R. (2008). A review and meta-analysis of the nomological network of trainee reactions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93, 280-295.
Sitzmann, T., Ely, K., Brown, K. G., & Bauer, K. N. (in press). Self-assessment of knowledge: An affective or cognitive learning measure? Academy of Management Learning and Education.