Parent Feedback Survey

Survey duration: 24th of July 2014 to the 31st July 2014

Participant description: Any parent who logged into their account during this time was invited to take the survey anonymously

Number of respondents: 314

We used a mix of qualitative and quantitative questioning in this survey because we wanted to find out the reasoning behind parent opinions and getting their comments is a much better way of doing this than simply asking for Yes or No as an answer.

Overall, you will see from the results below that parents are hugely supportive and in favour of Learning Journals being used to record their child’s learning. We have included a selection of comments from parents where appropriate to give you an idea of the sorts of comments we were receiving.

  • Q1 – Do you like Learning Journals as an online system for recording your child’s development?
  • Q2 – Do you think Learning Journals is improving links and the relationship you have with your nursery?
  • Q3 – What do you like about using Learning Journals?
  • Q4 – Is there anything you dislike about Learning Journals?
  • Q5 – Would you say that Learning Journals is an easy system to use?
  • Summary

Q1 – Do you like Learning Journals as an online system for recording your child’s development?

93% of parents who responded told us that they like Learning Journals being used as a tool for their nursery to record their child’s learning. This included a preference over manual paper based systems as well as other electronic methods.

With every question we invited further comments and got some particularly nice feedback here:

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Parent Comments

“It is amazing! We have 2 sets of grandparents who live overseas and being able to check the Learning Journal for daily updates really makes their day. Think it’s a great tool to keep parents updated!”

“I really enjoy getting emails to say new journals are there. Really love seeing what he has been up to.’

“As a working mum my biggest worry was leaving my son and for him not to enjoy the nursery. I don’t feel I’m missing out too much being away from him with the photos posted . Xx”

“It’s like reading “the secret life of my child” I love it!”

“I think it is fantastic. It is lovely to see pictures and read about what our children are doing and learning at nursery; it makes us feel very involved in their day.”


Q2 – Do you think Learning Journals is improving links and the relationship you have with your nursery?

When we designed Learning Journals our aim was to make the lives of practitioners and managers easier. However, anecdotally we began to hear that some parents considered it to be instrumental in building on the relationship they had with their nursery. When you think about it, the instant access that Learning Journals gives to parents is so far removed from the manual paper based system that they have been used to that it opens a window into nursery life that they could never have accessed before. We were overwhelmed to find that 83% of parents think that Learning Journals is actually helping them to build and strengthen their link to their nursery – to us that is HUGE!

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Parent Comments

“As I have very little contact with the Nursery due to me not doing the drop offs and pick ups it lets me see what my child is doing.”

“Yes, definitely. The paper-copy books are fine, but I never get round to taking them home. It is much nicer to see updates more regularly and while I am at work.”

“Feel I find out more, cause daddy often picks our daughter up so I miss out on the news”

“Yes I feel more informed about what happens during a nursery day and also about my son’s development “

“It’s a great link between parents and staff – it helps us to see their development and activities, which we can then discuss with the carers at pick-up or drop-off”


 

Q3 – What do you like about using Learning Journals?

This was a purely qualitative answer and the responses we got covered a wide range of points – some of which we had previously not considered to be much of a benefit. What we learned from this was that as we have so many users, every little tweak to make our system better may not be noticed by all, but if it makes something easier for just a few it is still worth doing.

There were a few main themes that kept on reappearing in the answers:

Photos:

This is obviously very important to a lot of parents. Being given a visual link and being able to see their child experience these learning events is something that was simply impossible on this scale and frequency with paper based systems.

Ease of access:

Again paper-based systems are very limiting in terms of being accessible to parents. Time has to be specifically put aside (when it is both convenient to parents and staff) whereas with Learning Journals the system is available all day, every day, as long as you have an Internet connection

Overview of child’s development:

Of course, most nurseries try to keep parents updated with their child’s development regularly by using report cards, parents evening and general daily communication. However in the rush of pick ups and drops offs or the limited time available for parent appointments it’s clear to see why Learning Journals is a better way for parents to be able to monitor and track their child’s experiences and progress at nursery and school.

Extended family access:

Lots of families are separated by distances that mean it is difficult for those far away to get meaningful information about what the children have been up to at nursery. We received comments from parents who have been able to share this information with Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and cousins all over the world.


Q4 – Is there anything you dislike about Learning Journals?

Although it’s sometimes not nice to hear, we strongly believe that the only way for us to improve is to find out the things that we don’t do so well at, and honestly try to resolve them.

Pleasingly, there weren’t too many of these! Further, most of the points were requests for features that are due to be added in future updates to the system (the benefit of being web based is that we can push out new features and upgrades to all users without the need for them to download software or install more hardware). Again, we’ve split these into general themes:

Frequency of updates:

As we mentioned below, this is something that nurseries should address with parents so that they do not have an unrealistic expectation of how many observations that should be made on their children.

Photo quality:

These vary by device and are largely outwith our control (e.g. a £399 iPad Air is always going to take better photos than a £99 Tesco Hudl), but we do our very best to maintain the integrity of all images that are uploaded to the system.

We miss the hard copy:

There is always going to be a trade off between the efficiency of an online system and the tactile nature of a physical folder. In this case it is important to point out that Learning Journals can be converted to a PDF, printable file – all at the click of a button. No longer having to maintain a paper copy of the file also means that artwork and creations can be sent home immediately to be enjoyed by the family.

Parents unable to upload photos:

This is a common comment and one that we hope to address in the future although careful thought and consideration needs to be taken with implementation. It would be very tempting for parents to upload many photos to a profile, which could dilute the documentation of learning and development that practitioners record at great effort.


Q5 – Would you say that Learning Journals is an easy system to use?

From the very beginning, when we first started to design the system its processes, we were adamant that Learning Journals would always remain simple, clean and easy to use. Too often we have seen educational software that is clunky, buggy and frustrating.

The results below speak for themselves and it is most heartening to see that users in the real world find the system as easy to use as we had hoped.

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Parent Comments

“The system itself is user friendly”

“Yes, it is really easy to use”

“Very easy to navigate through”

“I don’t think there’s anything I would change at present. The journal gives enough feedback about your child’s progression and I think it’s all in all an excellent idea”

“Great monitoring tool, simple and easy to use”

Summary

The main point of action that we took away from this survey is the need for us to educate our customers (nursery managers and owners) to manage the expectations of parents with regards to how often they should expect to see updates in their child’s profile. On many occasions (in fact on almost all occasions where feedback was not entirely positive) we received a comment along these lines:

  • “They are not being used regularly enough”
  • “I would like them to be updated more frequently”
  • “They are not being used enough”

It is important to note that Learning Journals is a record of a child’s learning and development. It is a tool that documents their education and significant experiences of learning while at nursery or school. It is not a communication system to record everything that happened on a daily basis. (Our optional Daily Diary feature, coming soon, will take care of this).

It would be advisable for nurseries to explain to parents how often they should expect to see updates (anywhere from 3-10 per month per child is common), and why it is not practical for practitioners to record observations daily for each child. It is a tiny concern when looking at the bigger picture but should still be addressed.

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