Video Blog: Using Mobile Data Collection with Audio and Images for a Client-Friendly CO Assessment

Margaret Gibbon  |  August 2, 2018

This is a guest video blog by Maddison Hall and Kailey Otten, Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte!


Our mobile cultural orientation (CO) assessment


Why we wanted to try mobile data collection (MDC) 

We had been administering a written assessment at the end of our agency’s Cultural Orientation (CO) program and had encountered a number of challenges. The assessment was not accessible to clients who did not read English and/or who were not able to write their answers in English. When we used interpreters for the assessment we noticed it was common for them to assist the clients with the answers to the questions. We decided to make the switch to mobile data collection because it allowed us to develop an assessment using tablets that integrates interpreted audio files and does not require written answers. We were also motivated to decrease our carbon footprint and have the ability to analyze assessment data more easily.

How we made our CO assessment mobile

We transferred the questions and answers from our written assessment into the free mobile data collection platform ODK Build and then began adding photo and audio files using another free tool for building MDC surveys, XLS Forms. We used photos to illustrate the questions and answers and we worked with volunteer interpreters to create recordings of the questions and answers. There was a steep learning curve associated with this process because we didn’t have any experience with these platforms, but with the training from META and our own research we were able to perfect the assessments. The process required a large time commitment in the beginning, but now that we’ve established a framework the new model saves us time both in the implementation and evaluation of the assessments.

What we’ve learned so far

We have been administering the mobile assessment for several months now and clients have responded positively to using the tablets. Some clients have needed assistance in learning how to use the tablets but have quickly learned how to select answers and move on to the next question. We have also seen average assessment scores increase since the uptake of the mobile assessments, an interesting development that we will continue to monitor. Overall, we’ve found that implementing mobile data collection has really improved our data collection processes for our CO program, for both staff and clients. We hope that by watching our video you can see what’s possible!


Want to learn more? META can provide training and technical assistance on getting started with mobile data collection to any ORR-funded organization, including State Offices for Refugees, resettlement agencies, ECBOs and more. Email!



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