Updated on October 23, 2023 based on the new recommended version in the second edition of my book. Performance-Focused Learner Surveys: Using Distinctive Questioning to Get Actionable Data and Guide Learning Effectiveness. See Question 129 on page 140.
The Net Promoter Score is one of the most popular smile-sheet questions in use. Unfortunately, it is fatally flawed for learning. I’ve written about NPS’s problems before. Essentially, NPS was designed for marketing purposes to get people’s feelings about the products they were using. NPS was NOT designed for learning. Also, the wording and choices of the question are too fuzzy to be meaningful. Finally, and most damning, NPS follows traditional smile sheets in focusing on learner satisfaction and course reputation—even though research has shown that traditional smile sheets are uncorrelated with learning!!
Despite these problems, organizations continue their blind allegiance to NPS.
Oftentimes, we are forced into doing stupid things by our organizational stakeholders, mostly because there seems to be no alternative. Let me provide one.
Can we gauge learner satisfaction in a way that focuses the question toward learning effectiveness and less on entertainment, enjoyment, ease of attendance, etc.? Yes. We. Can!
Net Effectiveness Score (NES)
Here’s the question:
If someone asked you about the effectiveness of the learning experience, would you recommend the learning to them? CHOOSE ONE.
- The learning was INEFFECTIVE ENOUGH THAT I WOULD BE HESITANT to recommend it.
- The learning was NOT FULLY EFFECTIVE, BUT I would recommend it IF IMPROVEMENTS WERE MADE to the learning.
- The learning was NOT FULLY EFFECTIVE, BUT I would still recommend it EVEN IF NO CHANGES WERE MADE to the learning.
- The learning was EFFECTIVE, SO I WOULD RECOMMEND IT.
- The learning was VERY EFFECTIVE, SO I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT.
This question has several benefits over the NPS question.
- It focuses on learning.
- It prompts learners to think about learning effectiveness.
- It has concrete answer choices, not fuzzy numeric ones.
- It will create meaningful results.
By the way, this question should be delivered after other smile-sheet questions that nudge learners to think about learning factors that really matter.