• icar@marnet.my
MARNet Conference 2021: Evaluation Findings

MARNet Conference 2021: Evaluation Findings

At the end of the MARNet Conference 2021, we asked 216 participants to fill out the conference evaluation form, A total of 164 participants filled out the form from 10 September to 11 December, 2021. The evaluation form was developed to gather participants’ feedback on the activities held during the conference, including plenaries, symposia, professional discourse events, cultural events, as well Pecha Kucha and Photovoice presentations. The form also sought to gauge participants’ satisfaction towards the conference’s administrative work, including conference organisation/the conference platform and the registration/login process. In addition, we sought to gain knowledge of participants’ perceptions of the most beneficial aspects of the conference and what they would like to suggest for future MARNet Conferences. Our data showed that out of 216 participants, 201 participants attended the conference registered as MARNet members. Overall, the findings from the evaluation of the MARNet Conference 2021 indicated that:

  • 92% of the non-members would like to join MARNet as a member after attending the conference.
  • 36.6% of participants learnt or heard about the conference from messenger apps (Telegram and WhatsApp), 24.9% from social media platforms (Facebook and YouTube), 22.4% from a referral from friends or colleagues, 10.4% from the conference website, and 5.5% from email correspondence.
  • The majority of participants stated that the main reason they participated in the conference was for professional growth and development (76.8%), and the remaining participants attended the conference for its content (17.1%), invited speakers/discussants (3.7%), and networking opportunities (2.4%).
  • 99.4% of participants found that the conference fulfilled their reason for attendance.
  • 100% of participants enjoyed presenting and watching action research presentations in Pecha Kucha and Photovoice formats.
  • 98.2% of participants thought that MARNet should continue using Pecha Kucha and Photovoice presentations for future conferences.
  • 79.9% of participants stated that they were extremely likely (79.9%) and very likely (19.5%) to attend MARNet conferences in the future.

With regards to the main sessions of the conference (plenaries, symposia, professional discourse and cultural events), the majority of participants (>49) were very satisfied with the sessions, and the remaining participants (>5) were somewhat satisfied with the sessions. The responses of these Likert scale questions were very low since we had a technical glitch on the evaluation form during the data collection period. Therefore, detailed responses to the questions could not be successfully generated. Meanwhile, participants were very satisfied with the conference content (>141), conference organisation (>137), conference platform (>115), registration/login process (>117), and secretariat responses (>137). 

Based on the written responses, the majority of participants (n=84) reported that they were satisfied with their overall experiences of the conference. Some of them found that the conference was very valuable to them, as they had experienced feelings of self-contentment and had gained new knowledge and skills. The participants found that the most beneficial aspects of the conference were the sharing platform (n=32), further understanding of action research (n=33), Pecha Kucha and Photovoice presentations (n=24), ideas from fellow presenters (n=11), invited panellists during Pecha Kucha and Photovoice presentations (n=11), conference content and new knowledge gained (n=20). Below are a few quotes from the participants:

“I truly enjoyed where the academicians shared their PhD work and how the discussants shared their views. Sharing sessions among presenters are so good and really inspired”.

“After 11 years of being a teacher, now I know what action research really is, and I made my mind up to continue my PhD in action research next year”.

“I learned about the process of doing action research in a relaxed way. I felt that I had wasted my time all this while without documenting my improvements in teaching and learning through action research. Before this, I felt that action research is an addition to my workload. Through my participation in the conference, I feel more confident and want to carry out action research in the near future. I hope to apply the Pecha Kucha and Photovoice format in my action research presentation”.

“Among the things I appreciate most is that I was able to change my understanding of action research, which has so far been vague, erroneous and more student-focused. This conference made me want to pursue postgraduate studies using action research”.

“I think the most beneficial aspect I’ve got was that I’ve got to know that there’s a person out there who has the same thought as me and that the Malaysian education system needs to hear more teachers’ voices concerning certain issues”.

“Before this, I understood action research to be just another type of research design. In this conference, I learnt that in action research, we need to explain our concern. Action research is not about the effectiveness of our intervention. The cycles don’t have a timeframe, researchers can be respondents, and there are no right or wrong answers for the qualitative data, but our stand must be justified”.

“A new experience and very useful platform to educators. I am impressed with the variety of ideas presented by the presenters at this conference. I am feeling grateful to be part of the community of MARNet participants, and everyone is friendly. I hope to encourage more educators to participate in similar conferences in the future”.

“This is the best conference ever. The speakers, content, and topics were discussed so deeply and were so easy to understand. I am looking forward to the next MARNet Conference and other activities as well. I hope to see this as yearly activity, and for sure I will put this conference as one special event of my CPD”.

Furthermore, the evaluation form also sought specific comments or feedback about the conference and how it could be improved (such as themes participants would like to see in subsequent conferences). Some participants reported that they would like to have the opportunity to publish their action research studies in peer-reviewed publications, such as e-proceedings or journals. Other participants requested workshops on writing up action research articles and mentoring programmes for new action research writers. In future conferences, the participants requested the organisers to improve the conference platform to provide an easier login process (user-friendly), provide recordings of all the sessions so they can watch them on-demand, and to organise a conference in person, during school holidays. In addition, there were also suggestions about collaborating with governmental and non-government bodies such as the Ministry of Education to attract more teachers to join the conference, provide more presentation time to the presenters, activate subtitles in Bahasa Melayu for keynotes in English, and bring more action research experts from around the world to future conferences.

In summary, although this was the first time MARNet was organised as an international conference with 216 participants and the planning was done in a very short period of time, the evaluation findings of the MARNet Conference 2021 showed impressive positive feedback from the conference participants. Our international partners such as the Collaborative Action Research Network (CARN) committee, and other international action research scholars, applauded MARNet’s efforts. In addition, some of the feedback gathered in this evaluation will be taken into consideration when we develop an international conference for 2022.