smile sheets
smile sheets

Smile Sheets

(SMY-l SHE-tz)

radioactive elements


What is a Smile Sheet?

Nickname for post-training evaluation forms that measure a participant’s reaction to a learning experience.

Other Common Names

Other common names for smile sheets include:

  • Post-training Evaluation
  • Trainer evaluation

Key Properties

While smile sheets come in all shapes and sizes, with different questions and ways of attempting to measure the success of a training program, they have two core properties:

  • Distributed following the conclusion of a training session
  • Provide multiple-choice responses to gauge learner reaction
smile sheets

Insights from What's yor Formula that We'd like you to rate a "5 out of 5"!

Whats Your Formula book
Order your copy to learn more about "smile sheets" and all of the related elements.

Elements that Bond with smile Sheets and produce greater stability

measuring for effectivenessMeasuring for Effectiveness

While smile sheets are an attempt to measure reaction and can offer one aspect of training measurement, measuring for effectiveness is going to make your Level 1 data more meaningful.

follow upFollow-up

The enthusiasm that a learner may have for your content, as reflected in their smile sheets, may be genuine when they’ve been sequestered in a training room. When the daily routine of meetings, emails, phone calls, and office politics return, however, learner enthusiasm will naturally wane. Following up in the weeks (or even months) after a program has been completed can help remind learners why they gave your session 4s and 5s.


Remember how I mentioned that low smile sheet scores may indicate learning didn’t happen, but high scores don’t necessarily guarantee learning did happen? Integrating assessments into your training (through activities or written tests) can help identify where learning actually is and is not happening.

levels of evaluationLevels of Evaluation

This is a no-brainer. Considering smile sheets are Level 1 evaluation, it’s important to keep in mind the role of other levels of evaluation in giving a more complete picture to any conclusions you’d like to make based upon the use of smile sheets.

Other Sources of Information on Smile Sheets

Smile Sheets

Books on SmiLe Sheets

Performance focused smile sheets
In his book Performance-Focused Smile Sheets: A Radical Rethinking of a Dangerous Art Form, Will Thalheimer (2016) writes that “the bottom line for me is that we need to get good feedback so that we can improve what we’re doing.” (Read this book, it will change the way you think about and create smile sheets!)

Download the Element Sanity Check

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