Traditionally CEPOL carried out surveys and questionnaires such as course and trainer evaluations using paper-based methods. In order to explore possibilities to improve the design, implementation and analysis of these surveys, a pilot was carried out in cooperation with the Estonian Public Service Academy in which the online Open Source survey application LimeSurvey was used. During this pilot, the emphasis was on assessing how what the participants had learned at CEPOL courses, seminars and conferences implemented in 2009, was being applied in the workplace.
In this, according to Kirkpatrick's model, third level evaluation, participants of CEPOL activities, as well as their line managers, were approached 3-6 months after each activity. In 2008, this was done manually via email; in 2009 LimeSurvey was used. By using LimeSurvey, an improvement in the response level was observed: from 42% in 2008 to 57% in 2009.
On a smaller scale, surveys carried out during the pilot period have proven useful for setting-up agendas for meetings. Additionally CEPOL's Learning Management System (LMS) has been looked at during an intermediate LMS assessment. During this assessment, the way courses are supported on the LMS was evaluated by key organisers and facilitators which resulted in a more robust design of CEPOL's course image and improved support to course managers, administrators and National e-Net Managers (see full report - login required).
In the autumn of 2010, the online survey pilot ended. Its main outcome was that for a network organisation such as CEPOL, there are many advantages. These include the fact it is easier to reach of target audiences, the response rates are higher and the subjects provide more qualitative data. As a result, CEPOL has installed the online survey application and will extend its use to the Exchange Programme.