Results of the Learning, Technology, and Conference Survey
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
by: Suzane Van Amburgh, GCFP, Program Development Manager

Section: Conference News

Thank you for participating in our recent survey. Over 375 members filled out the survey, that's about a 35% response rate. What a great turnout!

Congratulations to the winner of our survey drawing, Deborah Bowes.
Why did we do the survey?
The 2014 conference was very well received, however only about 200 of our members attended. With the exception of the 2012 conference, attendance has been on the decline over the last several years. In the fall of 2014, we decided to pause our annual conference planning habit and take time to reflect on our professional development strategy.
The crafting of this survey was informed by my prior research, experience, interviews with members, and awareness of trends in the association and event management industry. I observed what it is we are doing and compared it to our Guild statement of purpose, the Competency Profile and our Board articulated strategic goals.

This survey is an important piece of the puzzle. I have read every single open-ended response. Many comments were thoughtful and impassioned. I deeply appreciate the time and care our members put into completing the survey. Your input influences the decisions before us as we take the next steps in planning a professional development strategy to effectively foster a dynamic culture of learning, quality and competency among Feldenkrais
® teachers.
The survey consisted of four sections: "Learning activities," "Online activity," "Conference," and "More about you."
Learning Activities section, key findings:
  • 83% attend Feldenkrais advanced trainings/ workshops.
  • 74% have participated in a peer/ study group that meets face to face (not necessarily Feldenkrais Method® related).
  • 53% have attended a Feldenkrais Method related mentoring group.
  • 31% have attended an ATM® lesson taught live over the internet using video technology.
Over 40% of respondents specifically cite ATM practice as the number one way that they develop themselves as a practitioner. Additional responses imply the study of ATM without specifically using the term “ATM” (e.g. “AY lessons”). About 13% mentioned advanced trainings, About 10% spoke to the practice of ongoing practice. 6% mentioned studying with other practitioners, 2.4% of respondents cited conference.

Online Learning section, key findings:
  • 63% would likely participate in online learning options if the Guild created opportunities.
  • 19% are interested in providing online education through the Guild.
  • 61% have participated in an online course (not necessarily Feldenkrais Method).
  • 46% have paid for a self-study program downloaded from the internet (not necessarily Feldenkrais Method).
 In the last twelve months, respondents went to the internet five or more times to research or learn about:
  • recorded ATM lessons, 57%
  • brain science, 43.6%
  • anatomy, 38.1%
  • videos of FI® lessons,  35.7%
More than 75% have never gone to the Internet to learn about business practices, how to communicate with the media, how to make a video of themselves or how to teach an online class.
Respondents are not big users of social media in general, however the number of people who follow FeldyForum and the Facebook group Feldenkrais Practitioners Around the World (FPAW) are about equal.
Conference section, key findings:
  • 30% of respondents have never been to a conference.
  • 78% likely to attend a conference organized by their region.
  • 79% likely to attend conference if within driving distance.
  • 40% indicate August is the best month for them to attend a conference.
  • 50% likely to attend a virtual/ online conference.
  • 73% likely to attend a live streaming conference event if the option were available.
  • 51% disagree that Conference should be held annually.
  • 96% disagree that FGNA should stop holding conferences altogether.

We asked, For those years that you didn't attend Conference, what were the main reasons for not participating?
32% cited timing, dates, schedule conflicts; 46% cited money, cost, financial. 25% mentioned location, distance, travel challenges. Many people cited two or three of these factors. Beyond these top three categories, other recurring themes were family responsibilities, choice to go to advanced training instead, program uninteresting, health issues.
We asked, What would be lost if Conference discontinued?
Responses were extremely varied and many people spoke eloquently on the subject. A recurring theme was community and connection. Others noted the continual financial loss of conference and saw opportunity to reallocate our resources toward other needed programs. Here's a brief sampling of comments:

  • The sense of community. I do feel that it is important to try to unite as a larger community, and a conference is one way to foster that group sense. But there may be other ways to achieve this, as well. So perhaps if the conference is no longer held, there can be other ways to create a Feldenkrais community.
  • The sense of a connected community. I believe that some face to face, live interaction, organized, exciting community get-together is essential for cohesiveness and growth.
  • The (financial) loss the guild absorbs every time?
  • I think the money allotted to conferences should be used for PR about the work.
  • Loss of info- gatherings- networking. Maybe consider doing the conference but less days- it is hard to take off work and travel for so many days and I feel I miss a lot only doing a little of it - so why bother?
  • My husband & I have served boards and organizations of sizes similar to FGNA. Of these similar orgs, the ones that host conferences every three yrs do the best in attendance and financially. 2 yrs is too close for financial growth and four years apart seems to create a loss of interest in attending at all. What would be lost if the conference were discontinued? Community development. Having not yet attended a conference, I feel extremely isolated from the broader community of practitioners.
More about You section, key findings:
81% of respondents practice the Method as self-employed and 
36% indicate their primary source of income is from their practice of the Feldenkrais Method.More practitioners one to five years out depend on an outside source of income while more practitioners fifteen plus years are making a living from their practice.
Levels of Satisfaction:
We asked What would increase your satisfaction with the Guild?  
Top recurring themes were:
1. Initiate a broad PR/ marketing effort to make the Feldenkrais Method better known.
2. Improve leadership, finance handling, change the organizational structure.
3. More transparency, better communication with the members.
4. Improve member benefits, help members build their practice, offer marketing tools.
5. Requests relating to website changes.
The survey was anonymous, therefore I cannot respond to you directly if you raised questions in the open-ended responses. Your opinions are important and will influence future decision-making.

To honor the anonymity of the respondents, the raw data of the open-ended responses will not be released. If you have a particular question regarding the survey, feel free to contact me by e-mail.

Interested in reading more about the results? We've written a more in-depth analysis!

Read more articles in this issue of In Touch.

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