DIY Evaluation

Learn how traditional evaluation practice can be adapted for practitioner-driven visitor studies. Investigate ways to embed visitor evaluation studies into existing programs, exhibitions, or online experiences, making data collection more time efficient for practitioners and an enjoyable reflective learning activity for the visitor. Workshop concrete techniques and ideas for use in your own institution. Help create new and innovative methods with other museum practitioners. Have fun and inspire yourself at the same time. This online course includes three, 90-minute workshops held bi-weekly. Workshops will be interactive in nature, with time for small and large group discussions and time to brainstorm ideas for your own project with colleagues from your own institution or with museum practitioners from other organizations. Throughout the course, we will explore ways that museum professionals can incorporate “evaluative thinking” principles of action research into their professional practice. We call this DIY-evaluation: evaluation activities suited for the busy practitioner. As a course project, participants will use an existing program or exhibition from their institution as a test case for applying principles learned in this course. Facilitators can assist participants who do not already have a specific program or exhibition in mind prior to starting the course. The methodological focus for the course will be on experimenting with innovative data collection strategies that are practical for museum educators to implement themselves and also safe and responsible for ongoing health and safety concerns related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Between the webinar sessions, participants will be encouraged to conduct a Rapid-Response evaluation study at their own institutions. The course breakdown is as follows: Pre-Assignment - Select a program or exhibition in your institution to use as a test case in your project for this course. Ideally it should be a program/exhibition with which you have some degree of involvement or control. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. If you aren’t currently working in a place where you can do this project, then course facilitators will work with you to discuss other options. Workshop 1: Asking the Right Questions - The first workshop will focus on developing good evaluation questions and providing strategies practitioners can use to simplify and prioritize questions. Participants will have time to generate questions for their own studies and come up with an inquiry plan. Workshop 2: Selecting and Adapting Data Collection Methods – The second workshop will introduce participants to adaptations of traditional data collection techniques, suggest ways that data collection can be embedded in what practitioners already do (not adding more to their already too-busy schedules), and encourage museum practitioners to be playful about the ways they can systematically learn more about their visitors. Participants will have time to discuss different methods with their colleagues and select a method that is best aligned with their inquiry plan. Post- Workshop 2 Homework - Create a protocol and any instruments for your selected method. You can share your instruments with course facilitators for feedback prior to collecting any data. Collect your test data with 10-20 people. Workshop 3: Making Sense of Your Data – The final workshop will introduce strategies for making sense of your data, as well as practitioner-friendly approaches for sharing your findings with others. Participants will have time to work on analyzing their data and create a plan for sharing their findings/stories with others. Our goal in this course is to push you to think differently and innovatively about the museum visitor experience. Our desire is that your work in this course has direct application to your work in your museum. If you are not currently working in a museum then we will work to connect you with a museum in your city where you can do real work for real people. The goal is also to have a lot of fun while pushing a lot of envelopes. Participants will: Learn how to create DIY evaluation questions; Learn about how “bits” of traditional evaluation practice can be simplified and adapted for practitioner-driven visitor studies; Investigate ways adapted evaluation data collection strategies can be embedded in programs and exhibitions, making data collection more time efficient for practitioners and an enjoyable reflective activity for the visitor; Practice DIY evaluation techniques they can use at their own institutions; Practice making sense of data; Share their discoveries with other participants. Small, medium, and large museums share an interest in better understanding their visitors. Not all museums can afford to hire outside evaluators and those that can make better choices when they have some personal experience with designing and conducting their own small studies. Evaluation novices can benefit from this as an introduction to evaluative thinking and practitioner-led inquiry. Those more experienced with evaluation can gain new ideas and approaches to invigorate their thinking and positively impact their practice. This webinar is designed primarily for museum practitioners, not specialists in visitor research. However, experienced evaluators who want to help practitioners conduct their own explorations into visitor motivations, interests, and behaviors will find this workshop helpful. Presenters: Jeanine Ancelet, Audience Focus Marianna Adams, Audience Focus
September 1st, 2021 12:00 AM to September 29th, 2021 12:00 AM