Using SurveyMonkey with cadets

Hi, I am about to take over my Sqn’s training officer role and am keen to know what they feel about certain subjects/activities etc that we can do on the sqn.

I was hoping to use an anonymous survey for the cadets to freely voice their opinions so we can discuss their wants and desires in an open forum but still keep the individuals unknown.

I like to think they will be able to open up and tell us what they want in order for us to (if possible) provide them with a training package they actually want.

Does anyone have any experience in using a survey for things like this?
Also do you have any example questions I could put to the cadets?

Thanks for your help in advance


I’d keep it low tech. Use paper surveys, or even better, just speak to them about it.

If the group is too large, get the NCOs to run smaller group discussions and then present their ideas to you.

We did a similar thing recently and it worked really well.

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If you have the luxury of being able to offer a wide range of activities, then a survey will just point you st the ones the cadets like best! ;-).

Could all the cadets take part in each specific activity with regard to age, ability, classification status, etc? Free, or financial contribution involved? One day event or both days for a weekend! These & other factors will affect preference & availability.

When you include core activities & classification trg, perhaps this will reduce your list & hence your trg programme options?

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MJ is right.
We (like many other sqns) have done this sort of thing and I can almost give the results without a meeting or survey.

Classroom activities score low, non classroom activities score higher, some of which may be outisde of your scope to deliver.

You won’t get activitiies in terms of numbers wanting to do the things that you might expect, because not all cadets are willing or able to do or try them.

Promises to attend the things they want, which may require a degree of effort and or committment from staff and or expense which is duly arranged and then little or no take up because they are doing something else that day, from the usual long list, especially if it requires some input from parents, other than just money. If your activity requires staff (and no doubt cadets) from other squadrons this can be extremely embarrassing.

You have to bear in mind that off-squadron activities have to be ‘arranged’ several weeks in advance on SMS, which can limit when you can offer them especially if you add in a commercial provider or similar, which need to be booked sometime in advance, with money up front and little/no chance of a refund.

I wouldn’t say don’t do it, but your expectations have to be on the low side. Rather than a survey as such, give all the cadets a blank sheet of paper and get them to write down, individually, what they (think they) want to do, collate the results, take the top 5/6 and then decide what is practical in terms of what you can deliver without too much extra work and go for it. You can then decide on some of the other things if these are successful.

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I have used surveymonkey to collect feedback from our annual camp. It is very useful when you don’t get a huge amount of contact time with the cadets however the free version only gives you 10 questions, so you need to get creative or pay for it. It is mostly useful if you already have a decent online presence such as a Facebook group, that way you can post the link online.

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