Why customer ratings may not give a true indication of a training provider’s quality


If I love hot and spicy food but you don’t, then I might give a restaurant a better review for a dish than you.

Then, the next time you go looking for information about that restaurant, you might see my review that says it was great.  But, that is not going to be too helpful if you don’t like hot and spicy food.

Similarly, when it comes to training organisations, it is important to look at why people give the scores that they do.

How to tell the wheat from the chaff.

It all comes down to what is important to you.  If you know what is important, then you can filter the reviews yourself.

I’ll give an example from Fortress Learning.

We had two students.  Let’s call them Bill and Ben.  Both completed the same Diploma of Vocational Education & Training, and both through a blended program of RPL and coursework assessment.

Bill was confident he was competent and was keen to get the piece of paper as quickly as possible.  He found some of the assessment to be “unnecessary” for someone who had his experience and believed that RPL was meant to be a shortcut.  It ended up taking him longer than he liked, and he provided a 3 star review saying:

it took too long, and I shouldn’t have to prove that I did everything.

Ben was also confident he was competent, and was keen to get the piece of paper as quickly as possible.  He found some of the assessment challenging not because it was hard, but because it highlighted to him some gaps in what he knew and how he had been doing things.  That gave rise to further learning.  As with Bill, it ended up taking him longer than he liked, but he provided a 5 star review saying:

the process was very thorough and allowed me to see where I had gaps in my own experience and knowledge.

Instead, you should look at the comments, where you will be able to see what was important to the reviewer.  You can see that Bill was concerned about time and ease, but Ben was more concerned about thoroughness and credibility.

What matters to you may not be what matters to them

If you know what is important to you, then you will be able to see which reviews to pay attention to.

So, if a qualification that is credible is more important to you than a quick and easy one, then don’t just look at the 3 and 5 stars. Go with Ben’s judgement because what was important to him was important to you.  Likewise, because Ben’s comments tell us that he didn’t want the same as you, we can view his lower 3 star rating as a good sign.