2018 Conference Workshops

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

These Pre-Conference Workshops require advance registration. 

To register for the 2018 VSA Conference, click HERE.

  Full Day Workshop Half-Day Workshop
Member $150 $75
Non-Member $180 $90
Student Member $125 $65

 

Full Day Workshops (9:00am - 4:00pm)

Analyzing Data from Visual Artwork: Learning a New Method
Donna DiBartolomeo, Independent Consultant & Zachary Clark, 826DC

This workshop is designed to train participants to use a new method for analyzing data from visual artwork. This one-day training will provide participants with hands-on experience applying the coding scheme to a variety of artworks. Participants can expect to gain a deeper understanding of the implementation of the method, and learn strategies for applying the method at their home institution, including potential for adapting the method for use in their own work. Analyzing artwork produced or presented in visitor settings can provide insight into programs and inform research and evaluation projects. In this workshop, we offer a new method used to capture unbiased, detailed data from the technical and holistic dimensions of artworks. When applied to artwork produced in informal learning settings, this approach will allow educators and evaluators to assess and adapt art-making programs based on data collected from the participants' visual productions.
Made You Look: Using Simple Technology to Communicate Your Data
Anna Lopez & Mary Jackson, Woodland Park Zoo
 

This workshop will focus on three supplemental methods to the traditional evaluation/research report, utilizing free, widely accessible, online software to present findings. These methods include a short video, a video blog (vlog), and an online magazine. During the workshop, participants will learn about the reasons why knowing a variety of data presentation techniques is important for the dissemination of results. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to delve into the creation of three different techniques, walking away from the workshop with drafts of each data presentation technique, along with resources to continue building on the skills gained. This workshop is intended to empower those who are looking to grow their data presentation toolkit and are interested in exploring innovative ways to disseminate results.

Usability in the Museum: How to Evaluate Digital Interfaces
Kathy Kaiser, Centralis

 
Mobile apps and in-gallery interactives offer the promise of engaging visitors in innovative ways, but how do we know if these technologies are actually providing a better experience? Visitors’ enthusiasm for something “new” and “cool” can quickly turn sour if the reality of using it is confusing, frustrating, or distracts from the exhibit itself. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to conduct in-gallery usability testing of digital interfaces. We’ll begin by establishing a foundation in the principles of usability and human cognition. Then we’ll head to the museum to conduct a usability study of a mobile app or interactive in real time. You’ll learn basics of test facilitation and strategies for observing the fit between the interface and the physical environment. You’ll leave the workshop armed with a new method for understanding the role of digital interactives in  our institutions, and how to identify opportunities to improve your visitors’ experiences.

What Are We Talking About? A Course on Conversational Analysis
Kaleen Tison Povis, Science Museum of Minnesota & Jeremy W. Foutz, STEAM Worksgroup
 
It’s hard enough to decode our own personal conversations - how then do we systematically analyze the conversations of others?! This interactive, skill-building workshop scaffolds an understanding of conversational analysis across two sessions. Selections from seminal texts will help ground participants in the field. As presenters share insights and examples, participants will become familiar with useful terminology, tools, and tips as well as current research around designing for family learning in museums. Participants will also gain hands-on practice coding qualitative data. Explore and practice conversational analysis using VSA conference abstracts in the second session. During this hands-on experience, we will unpack elements of conversational analysis including how it compliments discourse analysis, software tools available, and implications of inductive and deductive approaches typified here. This collaborative analysis will incorporate findings from a recent study on VSA discourse conducted by STEAM Workgroup and will be shared later in the IAM/VSA Conference.

Hands On! Designing Activities to Inspire Group Planning and Data Generation
Lynn Courtney, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston & Paula Lynn, National Gallery of Art
 
As evaluators, we know that the use of props, hands-on activities, and prototypes can prompt visitor response in ways that enhance interviews or survey questions. The same practices can enhance participatory group planning, which we may also be called on to facilitate. Experiential, activity-based approaches to planning and visitor research can prompt outside-the-box thinking, surface deeper inspiration and meaning that can inform more visionary plans, create investment and inclusion, and enhance group problem-solving. In this workshop, we will draw on both education theory and large group planning methodologies to demonstrate and lead sample activities. We will teach a process for building on planning goals to design and facilitate participatory activities that will enhance planning processes or group-based evaluation. Participants will work together to design activities that may prove useful in their own professional practice. All are invited to bring an object that symbolizes a time when they helped others plan.

No Money for an Evaluator? Don't Despair! Building Evaluation Confidence
Elaine Horr, COSI

Need an evaluator but can’t afford to hire one? It may be time to develop and/or hone your own evaluation skills. In this interactive session we will explore three elements essential to developing and implementing solid evaluation protocols: logic models, evaluation questions, and data collection methods. We will be using two hypothetical programs during the hands-on segments of the workshop when we work on developing the logic model, evaluation question, and data collection methodology. If you have a program, exhibit or event you would like to evaluate, you can use it instead of the workshop’s second hypothetical program and start to develop the evaluation protocol for your project during the workshop. 

Morning Workshops (9:00am - 12:00pm)

Making Sense of Visitor Studies Statistics: Part 1 - A Beginner's Framework for Understanding, Interpreting Statistics
Deborah Wasserman & Mary Ann Wojton, Lifelong Learning Group at COSI's Center for Research and Evaluation

This introductory statistics workshop is designed in two parts. The morning session utilizes hands-on activities to introduce people new to statistics to a framework for understanding the statistics they encounter in reports and journal articles. It also creates a knowledge foundation for the afternoon session which provides a practical "how-to" overview for producing and reporting on the statistics described in the morning session. For both sessions, the overall objective is to provide enough familiarity that participants will feel comfortable and motivated to access resources for further study and understanding.

Nothing as Practical as Good Theory
Rebecca Teasdale & Cecilia Garibay, Garibay Group

With a nod to Kurt Lewin, who tells us there is “nothing as practical as a good theory”, this workshop introduces visitor studies professionals to concepts in evaluation theory that can help them navigate the competing demands and tradeoffs they face. We will introduce the evaluation theory tree classification, a framework that illustrates the tensions between (1) Methods: using rigorous evaluation design and methods, (2) Use: meeting the needs of program staff and funders and providing useful information for decision-making, and (3) Valuing: reaching a conclusion about the success of a program or exhibit and/or how it might be improved. Participants will develop skills in balancing these competing demands and will deepen their insight about their own work, personal priorities, and values. Participants will also gain language they can use to help  colleagues develop a broader perspective on evaluation and how it fits into the field of the informal learning.

Building Your Data Practices: Part 1 - Tools for Analyzing and Interpreting Your Data 
Jen Benoit-Bryan & Katherine Gean, Slover Linett Audience Research

This two-part series focuses on helping staff build skills and comfort levels to take raw data, analyze it, interpret, and create a coherent narrative of the findings. Through our capacity-building work with organizations across the field, we’ve found that people often feel stumped when they have raw data in hand but don’t feel equipped to effectively analyze and then tell a meaningful and cohesive story about that data. The first session will be constructed around three main parts: tools for analysis, choosing your analytical tool for the questions at hand, and using those techniques to analyze and interpret data sets. The second session will walk through the most important elements of storytelling: who, why, how, what, where, and when—with a data-centered framework. We’ll provide guidance on identifying the needs of stakeholders, synthesizing and prioritizing across data points, and enhancing stories through data visualization tools.

Afternoon Workshops (1:00pm - 4:00pm)

Making Sense of Visitor Studies Statistics: Part 2 - A "How To" Overview for Conducting Analyses, and Interpreting Results of Simple Inferential Parametric and Nonparametric Analyses
Deborah Wasserman & Mary Ann Wojton, Lifelong Learning Group at COSI's Center for Research and Evaluation

This introductory statistics workshop is designed in two parts. Afternoon participants must either have attended the morning session, or be familiar with the full range of statistical testing and how to select appropriate tests; also they must arrive with one of the two programs (SPSS or PSPP) downloaded and ready to use. For both sessions, the overall objective is to provide enough familiarity that participants will feel comfortable accessing online resources for further study.

Building Your Data Practices: Part 2 - Tools to Help You Tell a Data-Driven Narrative
Jen Benoit-Bryan & Katherine Gean, Slover Linett Audience Research

This two-part series focuses on helping staff build skills and comfort levels to take raw data, analyze it, interpret, and create a coherent narrative of the findings. Through our capacity-building work with organizations across the field, we’ve found that people often feel stumped when they have raw data in hand but don’t feel equipped to effectively analyze and then tell a meaningful and cohesive story about that data. The first session will be constructed around three main parts: tools for analysis, choosing your analytical tool for the questions at hand, and using those techniques to analyze and interpret data sets. The second session will walk through the most important elements of storytelling: who, why, how, what, where, and when—with a data-centered framework. We’ll provide guidance on identifying the needs of stakeholders, synthesizing and prioritizing across data points, and enhancing stories through data visualization tools.

Digging Deeper: A Brief Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods
Sarah Cohn, Aurora Consulting

Information is good. Useful information is even better. Sure, simple multiple choice or ratings questions may do the trick—but sometimes we don’t even know what those ‘multiple choices’ should be. And sometimes, we need to dig a little deeper: Why don’t teachers visit the Zoo? How can we better serve our local community? Enter qualitative methods. But who has time to gather and then wade through all those interviews or open- ended responses? This workshop will take a closer look at the rationale and use of qualitative methods for understanding audiences, examining ways to demystify and simplify the process from start to finish. Whether you are an educator, development staff, or evaluator new to visitor studies, the workshop should provide useful tips for gathering and making sense of the information that qualitative methods can provide.

To register for the 2018 VSA Conference, click HERE.