Conducting e-Learning focus groups offers a wide range of advantages. However, it is a truly effective feedback tool only if you know how to analyze the information you receive from the participants. In this article, I’ll share tips that will help you get the most out of your e-Learning focus group data.
How to Effectively Analyze e-Learning Focus Group Data
Conducting an e-Learning focus group for your e-Learning course gives you the opportunity to gain insight into its strengths and weaknesses, and to ensure that it is polished and powerful. The invaluable opinions, thoughts and feedback you get from the e-Learning focus group’s members are worth all of your time and effort, only if you can effectively analyze the data you receive. In this article, I’ll highlight some tips that can help you assess the e-Learning focus group data so that all of your hard work will pay off in the form of memorable e-Learning experiences.
1. Make your own observations at the end of the e-Learning focus group session.
Before you have a chance to forget what happened during the e-Learning focus group, try to write down anything you noticed or any suggestions that aren’t already on a questionnaire or survey. For example, if a participant approached you at the end of the session to offer his/her opinion in private, jot it down as soon as possible. Also, if you happened to observe anything that may be of note during the focus group, make a note of it so that you can take it into consideration when you’re doing your analysis.
2. Transcribe audio data as soon as possible.
If you’ve gone the route of recording the session rather than using written feedback tools, such as surveys, then you will want to transcribe the audio data as quickly as you can. If you are holding a series of sessions with one e-Learning focus group, transcribe the audio after every meeting so that you can use the collected data to follow up the next time you all gather. Having the audio data transcribed is especially important if you are using a variety of other non-verbal feedback methods. For instance, if you are using surveys and questionnaires, conducting interviews and recording the e-Learning focus group meetings, it may be more convenient to have all your data in one format while doing your e-Learning focus group data analysis.
3. Always have a clear idea of why you conduct the e-Learning focus group.
When you begin assessing the e-Learning focus group data you’ve collected, it’s best to have a clear idea of why you held the session in the first place. What is the purpose for conducting the e-Learning focus group? What did you want to learn about your e-Learning course? Was there a particular concern or issue that needed to be examined, such as a complex branching e-Learning scenario? Keeping your primary objectives in mind will allow you to stay on track during your e-Learning focus group data analysis so that you can focus on the certain data that pertains to the aspects of the e-Learning course that truly need your attention.
4. Examine all of your findings on a question-by-question basis.
Once you’ve gathered all of the written data from your e-Learning focus group, try to group all of the information on a question-by-question basis. For example, all of the answers that the participants gave for question 1 should be in a different document or page than those you received for question 2. This will keep your data organized and allow you to assess each question independently so that you can deal with one area of focus or e-Learning course design issue at a time and not be overwhelmed by the sheer abundance of the e-Learning focus group data you’ve gathered.
5. Look for a common thread.
Another benefit of looking at each question individually is that you are able to carefully examine each response and see if there are any opinions or ideas that seem to crop up time and again. These common threads give you hints as to what may need to be improved within your e-Learning course, and what is working effectively. For example, if you notice that a majority of your participants had an issue with the difficulty level of the second module, this will clue you into the fact that you may want to fine tune certain aspects of that section to make it easier or less complex. When just one participant believes that something isn’t working effectively, then this may just be a matter of personal opinion. However, if 9 out of 10 participants have the same issue, you may want to think about reevaluating certain aspects of your e-Learning course.
6. Figure out how the data supports or opposes your initial assumptions.
Chances are that when you decided to run an e-Learning focus group you already had some assumptions and/or concerns in mind related to your e-Learning course design. For example, you may believe that the assessments need to be modified, but you aren’t sure how to do so most effectively, or maybe you have a sneaking suspicion that the e-Learning game you included in the third module may not be as engaging or immersive as it should be. All of these assumptions can be disproven or supported by your e-Learning focus group findings. Take a close look at the information you’ve collected and figure out how the feedback you received addresses the goals and objectives you created for the event. This will give you invaluable insight into whether your e-Learning course will offer your learners the experience they are looking for, or if you need to go back to the drawing board.
These e-Learning focus group data tips can help you put your findings to good use in order to fine tune your e-Learning course and achieve your learning goals. When conducting your next e-Learning focus group, keep these on-hand to ensure you take full advantage of the e-Learning focus group data you’ve collected.
Want to know more about the benefits of using focus groups in e-Learning? The article 6 Reasons To Use Focus Groups in eLearning highlights 6 reasons why you may want to think about using e-Learning focus groups when developing your next e-Learning course.
Conducting an e-Learning focus group may seem like a simple and straightforward task. But it’s not as easy as it appears. Read the article 5 Tips For Running A Successful eLearning Focus Group if you want to get the most feedback from your e-Learning focus group.
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