Questionnaires: Moodle vs Online Surveys

I am designing questionnaires to gather feedback about student and staff experience of Zoom technology. So I first thought it would be easier to use Moodle Questionnaire as this will sit on the same VLE system and will not require participants to be sent to a different site. So I created the questionnaire on Moodle. I must admit, even though I have had experience creating questionnaires on Moodle, they were all fairly straight forward questions that did not have branching. In this case the questionnaire I was creating had quite a few questions branching out. It gave me the opportunity to learn setting dependencies in a Moodle questionnaire. This Questionnaire Conditional branching  Moodle documentation is a good resource to learn how to setup branching questionnaires.

Image shows page breaks included for each branching question
Questionnaire with page breaks

However, what was apparent when I started creating the questions was that for each branching question Moodle required a new page. So in the end, I ended up with a 12 page questionnaire!

I didn’t fully appreciate the effect this may have on participants until I asked my colleagues to comment on the questionnaire. The first feedback was “seeing page 2 of 12 could be a bit overwhelming”. I am really glad I got my colleagues to give feedback because I am sure anyone looking at a questionnaire with 12 pages would not want to do it unless it is compulsory or provides a reward. I certainly would not click through to 12 pages!

This meant that I needed to look for an alternative. We used to use SurveyMonkey for feedback surveys but we no longer use it at UCEM. We have access to Online Surveys tool (which used to be Bristol Online Survey a while back) and I thought to give it a go. I used Bristol Online Survey tool almost a decade back as a PhD student and I really liked the flexibility it gave me. My initial issue of branching questions taking a whole page was no longer a problem with Online Survey tool. It dynamically crates the questionnaire on the page depending on the options you select.
For example here I have shown how the questionnaire behaves depending on the options you select.

Questionnaire initial view
Questionnaire initial view

On selecting YES option it displays additional questions
On selecting YES option

On selecting No option it displays different additional questions
On selecting No option

In this instance, I decided that it is best to go with Online Surveys because when a participant starts the answering the questionnaire I didn’t want them to quit thinking it is going to take long as there are 12 pages.

I am a Learning Technology Researcher and the Chair of the Online Learning Research Centre at the University College of Estate Management. My principle research interests lie in the area of social implications of information and communication technologies, especially eLearning.

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