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Pilot Study Orientation

This orientation explains the purpose of a pilot study and discusses how to conduct, report, and use the results of the study.

When do I need to conduct a pilot study?

Conduct a pilot study to determine the ASHA CEU amount for a course, or portion of a course, that is offered outside the traditional instructor-led classroom when the completion time varies from one learner to another. In other words, conduct a pilot study if ASHA CEUs are not based on seat time, viewing time, listening time or word count.

The following are examples of courses, or portions of courses, that may require pilot studies:

Self-studies or Blended courses that have the following components: technical reading that may require re-reading for comprehension; group or individual field experiences; assigned work outside the classroom (i.e., course prerequisites or follow-up activities); tests or assessments.

    Note: The pilot study must be conducted within the 12 months prior to the course registration.

    How do I conduct a pilot study?

    • Choose at least 10 participants from the course's target audience; do not include the peer reviewers in the pilot study pool
    • Design a participant time log for pilot participants to track, in minutes, how long they spend on each component of the course
    • Provide each of these 10 pilot participants with a complete copy of any pertinent materials, including the course product, instructions, participant time log, learning assessment, and program evaluation
    • Explain the purpose of the pilot study to the participants: to establish the typical time it takes a learner to complete the course
    • Establish a date by which participants must submit their time logs to you

    How do I design a participant time log?

    • Identify the course components to be tracked (i.e., reading assignments, written assignments, research, application of techniques, learning assessment, program evaluation)
    • Modify the sample participant time log [PDF] to include the identified course components and instructions for the pilot participants

    Do I follow the same procedures if I am piloting work outside the classroom or only selected components of a course?

    Yes. Create and distribute a participant time log as described above to reflect the course components or assignments to be tracked by the pilot participants.

    Are there special instructions if the self-study is a periodical (newsletter or journal)?

    Yes, please note the following:

    The Word Count formula found in the ASHA CEU Calculation Sheet [XLS] can be used to determine the ASHA CEU amount for each issue. If you use the Word Count formula and feel that it does not adequately reflect the time that the average reader spends reading your journal, then you have the option to conduct a pilot study.

    • Pilot a typical issue of the newsletter or journal you are registering for ASHA CEUs. It must be similar in content, format, and instructional level to the issues you will register in the future. It can be the upcoming issue or one that is up to 12 months old.
    • Choose at least 10 participants from the newsletter's or journal's target audience who are reading the publication for the first time.
    • Create and distribute a participant time log as described above. Newsletter and journal pilot studies usually track reading time, learning assessment, and program evaluation.

    Submit your pilot study form with the ASHA CE course registration for the piloted journal issue. Select “pilot study” as the method of ASHA CEU calculation and attach the pilot study form in the ASHA CEU calculation section of the registration form found in the “Registration and Cancellation” section of the CE Provider Portal.

    Once the course has been reviewed and all CEB requirements are met, your course will be registered for ASHA CEUs. In the Course Registration Confirmation document found on the Course Overview page in the CE Provider Portal, you will see a word per minute rate for reading, learning assessment, and evaluation that you can use in future journal issues.

    When you register the next issue of the journal, you should mark the method of determining ASHA CEUs as “word count” and attach a copy of Table III from the Pilot Study Form or use the box provided in the ASHA CEU calculation section of the Registration form to show your calculations using the approved word count formula for your journal.

    How do I report the data received from the participant time logs?

    Enter the data onto the Pilot Study Report Form [DOC]. Below is a brief synopsis of how to complete this form. More detailed instructions can be found in the CEB Manual [PDF] under Pilot Study. You may also contact your provider manager for assistance.

    Page 1

    • Fill in report date, provider code, course number, and course title.
    • Complete Section A: Methodology.
    • Complete Section B: Course/Product Description.
      • Use left column for periodicals only.
      • Use right column for all other products/components/assignments.

    Page 2

    • Enter raw data from the participant time logs into Table I (Summary of Pilot Data) of Section C.
      • In the Word version of the Pilot Study Report Form, double click on Table I to change it into an Excel spreadsheet that automatically computes the mean, median, and mode. (Your provider manager can e-mail a copy of this format to you.)
      • Do not send the participant time logs to ASHA, but do keep them on file in case questions arise.
    • Complete Table II (Periodical Enduring Material Formula) only if you are piloting a periodical (journal or newsletter). This table establishes the formula for calculating ASHA CEUs for future issues of your journal or newsletter.

    Page 3

    • Complete Section D with your name and signature, and the date.

    Why do I have to calculate the mean, median, and mode?

    Mean, median, and mode are used to ensure that the appropriate measure of central tendency is used to calculate the ASHA CEUs.

    • Mean is the summary statistic obtained by adding up all the data values and then dividing by the number of participants. We use the mean as the preferred measure of central tendency when your data are symmetrical.
    • Median is the summary statistic obtained by finding the middle value of your data set. We use the median as the preferred measure of central tendency when your data contain outliers. Outliers are extreme scores that affect the distribution.
    • Mode is the summary statistic obtained by finding the most frequent value.

    What are the course registration procedures when a pilot study is involved?

    The following items must be submitted to ASHA CE at least 15 days prior to the start date of the first offering of your course:

    • Course and Offering Registration and attachments
    • Pilot Study Report [DOC] (choose the method of ASHA CEU calculation as pilot study and attach the report.)

    What happens if there is a change in my product's delivery method, format, or content during the period it is registered for ASHA CEUs?

    Contact your provider manager to discuss the changes. You may be required to do one or more of the following:

    • provide evidence that the existing pilot data remain a true measure of the time required to complete the product
    • conduct a new pilot study
    • reregister the course

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