Surveys are an invaluable opportunity to gather detailed data from individual participants to inform planning, gather evidence and report results.
A comprehensive survey at the beginning of a community of practice can provide useful information about participants’ context, professional experience, areas of interests and priorities, beliefs and values about teaching and learning, and self-reported levels of expertise and confidence.
Information gleaned from these surveys can be used both for planning throughout the year, and as baseline data to inform the evaluation at the end of the year.
Taking the time to develop good questions will help facilitators clarify the goals of the community, describe the types of tangible indicators of success, and identify information, attitudes and skills that will be targeted throughout the year. View an example of an initial survey for Literacy for All.
TIP: Timing of surveys makes a difference. Ideally, the initial survey should be done a few days before the first session, or at the very beginning of the first face-to-face sessions.
A final survey provides a structured opportunity to gather data about what worked, (and what didn’t), analyze changes in attitudes and practices over time, and collect participants’ perceptions about the overall professional learning experience. This data can be included in summary reports and can also be used to inform planning of future professional learning opportunities. View an example of a final survey
TIP: Communities report that dedicating scheduled time (e.g., 30-minutes) to complete online surveys during the wrap-up face-to-face sessions ensures higher completion rates and more detailed responses to open-ended questions.