2012 Forum Evaluation


AIR invited Forum attendees to evaluate their experiences at the 2012 Forum in New Orleans. AIR surveyed 1,752 Forum attendees, who were randomly assigned to four groups, each of which received a different version of the survey so that a number of topics could be evaluated using sampling to avoid survey fatigue from an overly long instrument. The first five questions were the same for each survey; the remaining questions addressed the topics of Forum-Related Communications, Professional Development, Record Attendance, or Session Evaluations. The survey was administered June 12-22, 2012, and the response rate was 54% (947). Topics mentioned by five or more people are shared; the full data set, including comments, is available to AIR members with identifying information removed (see links below).

General Feedback

Overall, conference attendees were pleased with the 2012 Forum. Ninety-six percent of respondents expressed that they were very satisfied or satisfied with their experiences.  A clear majority of Forum participants (91%+) found value in the concurrent sessions; garnered tools, resources, or solutions they can quickly apply to their work; were inspired to think of their own solutions or innovations; and enjoyed the keynote speakers.

The survey purposely focused attention on suggestions for improvements.  Even with a 96% satisfaction rating, participants readily offered suggestions for further refinements of the Forum. The most common suggestions related to types of educational programming, schedule design, the availability of food and lunch breaks, conference center and hotel features, and opportunities for networking.

Seven out of ten attendees found the conference to be an appropriate value.  An additional 16% thought that the conference was a very good financial value for a total of 86% rating the financial value of the Forum positively.  Only 14% thought that the Forum was too expensive.

Forum-related Communications

Most Forum attendees (80%+) stated that the content and frequency of Forum-related communications answered all or most of their questions and met their needs. When asked what other information would have been helpful for planning their trips to, and time at, the Forum, the most common request  was for more information about the local area, including relevant travel logistics. In addition, respondents requested earlier releases of information about the Forum schedule to assist with decisions about travel and in gaining permission from their employers to attend.

Professional Development

AIR sought information about how Forum fits with attendees’ professional development plans. When comparing Forum to other national conferences, more than 75% stated that they gain more value or equal value from the Forum than from other national conferences. More than half of respondents attend other types of conferences in addition to Forum, and 43% participate in webinars and online learning in addition to attending the Forum. Out of those surveyed, 34% of respondents shared that the New Orleans conference was their first Forum, and 30% stated that the Forum is their primary source of professional development. When asked what they valued most about their Forum experiences, 49% of respondents identified the general learning opportunities, 42% said networking, 6% appreciated exposure to experts in the field, and 5% noted pre-conference opportunities.

Record Forum Attendance

AIR experienced record attendance at the 2012 Forum. When asked about the impact of the record attendance on learning and satisfaction, 92% felt that it enhanced or had little to no impact on their conference experiences. Also, an overwhelming majority of survey respondents (94%+) thought that the record number of Forum attendees was handled well by key entities, including hotel staff, session presenters, AIR staff, and Forum participants themselves. When asked to comment on the advanced communications they received from the AIR Office, 44% of respondents wrote that the communications were very helpful, helpful, or satisfactory, approximately 15% expressed appreciation for the MyForum app and shared requests for future development of the application, and 4% requested that a list of Forum attendees be provided.

Session Evaluations

AIR sought information about how session evaluations are used and valued at Forum. Out of those surveyed, 77% of respondents reported that they completed evaluations of all or most sessions they attended, whereas 6% completed evaluations of all or most sessions they enjoyed, less than 1% completed evaluations of all or most sessions they did not enjoy, and 15% completed evaluations of few or none of the sessions they attended. Approximately 80% found importance in the opportunity to provide concurrent session evaluations, and nearly 80% found value in concurrent session evaluations. When asked what changes they would make to the concurrent session evaluation process, the most common suggestion was a request to incorporate use of online session evaluations that can also be accessed via a mobile app.

Readers may also access the full evaluation summary and the full survey data.



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