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 a minimum 10 participants/maximum of 15 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] should  be used to determine the ASHA CEU amount for each issue.

    When you register the next issue of the journal, you should mark the method of  Word Count and 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?

    • Fill in, provider code, course number, course title, start date and end date of pilot study, and number of participants in the Pilot Study section of the ASHA CEU Calculation Sheet [XLS].
    • Check all course components that participants completed as part of this pilot study.
    • Check all exercises or assessment types that participants completed as part of this pilot study
    • Enter raw data from the participant time logs into lines 40 to 54. (Do not send participant logs to ASHA, but do keep them on file in case questions arise.)

      Why does the spreadsheet 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
      •  ASHA CEU Calculation Worksheet (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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