Nov 30 2006

Analyzing audience feedback, part 2

Published by at 7:14 am under Conferences,Evaluation,Event design

“Average response” vs. response of the “average person”. The point of using the middle response as a representation of the whole group is that you capture what the person in the middle of the distribution said, without being influenced by the tails (whether positive or negative):


  • Invigorating. Very interesting dialogue on 3 tensions
  • Interesting, topical, relevant and well presented
  • Interesting to get another perspective

People were engaged in Nancy’s presentation. They connected with her and with the topic. It’s interesting to to me that none of the responses commented on the fact that audience feedback was being collected in a wiki. Good to see the “3 tensions” from our tech study project mentioned. What people in “the middle” said is the main message.

The data analysis strategy here is to chop the whole sorted list in half and then continue chopping the parts in half again. I picked out comments at the cut-points; similar to the median, here are the quartile and the “eighth” and the extreme:Positive Quartile:

  • Fantastic � her delivery style and encouraging participation by audience was great
  • Excellent entertaining presenter. It was good split up into 3 parts with food breaks which gave you a breather and time to refresh yourself

Positive Eighth:

  • Comprehensive review of e-learning resources in community environment
  • An inspiring speaker � I was a bit disappointed as I had registered my mobile beforehand (via an email) but I didn�t get messages � a very engaging and entertaining speaker

Positive Extreme:

  • Fantastic � the best. Excellent speaker
  • Absolutely excellent!! Inspiring, informative and innovative

There was a lot of enthusiasm for the session. Seems like quite a bit of variety, ranging from enthusiasm for the topic, for the process (e.g., SMS) and for Nancy herself as as a presenter.

The negative comments were what first caught my eye because they were painful and so I picked out three comments at each of the cut-points in the distribution to provide a bit more to think about.Negative Quartile:

  • Ok � food for thought
  • Some thoughts and concepts that had not considered before. Great how split into 3 parts
  • Food for thought. Good presenter

Negative Eighth:

  • Too long � I can�t concentrate that long
  • Started well but went on for too long, became boring
  • Rather long � not particularly stimulating

Negative Extreme:

  • Why do we need an American who is full of herself to tell us what we already dabbled in during our LearnScope projects?
  • Long, elitist
  • Hard to follow � esoteric. I didn�t warm to her and felt she presented poorly which immediately creates a barrier to an audience (read �me�). She was disjointed in my opinion. Not clear on outcomes.

The quartile comments are actually pretty positive, so you can say that three-fourths of the audience actually had a good experience. The “Negative Eighth” comments all seem to be about length, making me wonder why people stayed, particularly since it sounds like there were breaks where people could have left or stayed in the lobby. Were people being rewarded with “continuing education units” of some sort? The “Negative Extreme” comments stand out so that you might either pay a lot of attention to them or completely ignore them.

One question that I’m left with is about how “personal” these kinds of evaluations are � and whether they should be.What do you see in these comments?

One response so far

One Response to “Analyzing audience feedback, part 2”

  1. Bill Williams says:

    I find your analysis very interesting John and it rings true with experiences of my own over the years with training sessions and presentations although I have not seen feedback analysed to this degree before.

    It seems like a clear example of a good presentation by a good presenter that if I was there I would have said it went well – but at the same time on analysis there were at least some of the 60 present who didn

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