Experience-profiling your audience before an event

As part of our course prework we ask that participants complete a simple 6-10 question survey. Participants are asked to self-assess their competencies on a scale from 1 (low) to 5 (high). The competencies surveyed include dimensions such as Strategic Thinking, Business Planning, Leadership, and Financial Statements.

We’ve found these assessments valuable for instructors. The results provide an “experience-profile” for the audience. Base on this profile, instructors can make adjustments to the course agenda and/or lecture modules.
Here are a few interesting observations from the past few years of administering this pre-course questionnaire:

  • All audiences self-assess themselves lower on financially-related competencies than other areas. This is true for all audiences from all industries, regardless of experience level.
  • Younger audiences will consistently rate themselves higher on all competencies compared to audiences with significantly more experience.
  • There is about a 70% completion rate on the questionnaires.

When the results are shared with the participants (in the form of min, max and average score) participants can literally “see” that they are in an audience that consists of both experts and novices on various dimensions of business acumen. This provides an excellent example for why, in adult learning, you are sometimes a teacher, and at other times, you are a learner.