4.5 Pre-Course or Pre-Lesson Survey

Each and every student learns differently and has a unique life story. How can you design learning activities to meet the needs, interests, and goals of all of your students?

One way to do this is by designing a pre-lesson or pre-course survey. This can be a formal survey (e.g., using Google Forms) or an informal “thumbs-up/thumbs-down if you agree” activity. The goal of a pre-lesson/course survey is to learn as much as you can about your students so that you can design learning activities based on their interests, needs, and goals.

A K-W-L chart is a good way to start, but this activity focuses solely on students’ knowledge. If you want to engage students in learning, then you need to find a way to pique their interest, tap into their expertise, and incorporate their learning preferences and styles.

Screenshot of a google form with pre-course survey questions, such as "What are the 2-3 most important things you would like to learn from this course?"

Optional Activity: Design a Pre-Course/Lesson Survey

Activity Objective: A pre-course/lesson survey is a good way to understand our students’ needs, interests and expectations. The pre-survey will also help us to predict in advance potential issues in the teaching-learning process and be prepared to confront them.

Activity Instructions: In this optional activity, we ask that you design a pre-course/lesson survey for your students that should include at least 3 questions. Please share your pre-course/lesson survey in our course Google+ Community. We recommend using Google Forms, but you are welcome to use any tool of your choosing. If you need some guidance, please see the examples and resources listed below.

Example Questions

  • Name? Email address?  (Don’t forget logistics!)
  • Please share 3 things you already know about insert topic here.
  • What are your learning goals for this course/lesson?
  • Which of the following digital media tools/apps do you use on a regular basis (e.g., Video recording, video editing, audio recording, audio editing, photography, photo sharing)?
  • Do you have any related experience in the topic that we will discuss during this course/lesson? If so, please describe.
  • How can I support your learning during this course/lesson?
  • Do you have any fears about this course?
  • What are your learning preferences in accomplishing your goals?  
  • For example, for younger students: “Which of the following is your favorite thing to do: Act, sing, draw, design, sculpt, program/write a computer code, play a video game, record a video”
  • What is your greatest strength as a student?
  • What is one skill you’d like to focus on during this course?
  • How can you best support your classmates’ learning?
  • Is there anything you’d like me, as your teacher, to know about you? (e.g. Are you shy? Do you often struggle with a particular grammatical point?)
  • Do you prefer to work independently or in a group? Why?
  • What skills and expertise will you bring to this course?

Example Forms


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