DARBY, J.A., 2006. Evaluating training courses: an exercise in social desirability? Journal of European Industrial Training, 30(3), pp. 227-239
Purpose: This study examines factors, which influence responses on open ended evaluations of training courses.
Method: Course participants completed open ended evaluation forms about their experience on a course. These consisted of 377 senior teachers attending a training programme dealing with child abuse. The course was repeated 17 times. The second training programme concerned teaching skills. This was attended by 231 postgraduates. The course was repeated 25 times.
Findings: Responses on open ended evaluation forms tended to be favourable with reference to ‘human related factors’ and unfavourable when referring to ‘hygiene factors’.
Implications: It is suggested the way people complete evaluation forms is partly a reflection of their desire to see themselves as acting in a socially desirable manner. Interpretations made from such forms about the effectiveness or merits of any course should take this into account.