Listening to our communities
CLEO Quarterly Update
In this Quarterly Update, we're focusing on one aspect of our work: listening to people who need and use our resources.
CLEO's mandate is to provide practical, accurate information and education to help people in Ontario understand and exercise their legal rights, particularly people living on low incomes or facing other barriers to justice. But how do we know whether people can understand and act on the information and support we provide – through Steps to Justice and Justice pas-à-pas, Guided Pathways, and CLEO Connect training?
While we'd like to take credit for being clairvoyant and able to predict the needs of our audiences, in fact, we rely on them to tell us what's working and what's not. We ask and we listen.
Listening to site visitors
Our live chat service on Steps to Justice and Justice pas-à-pas is a rich source of commentary on the effectiveness of existing website content, and ideas for future content. Questions from the public are reviewed by our lawyer and editor team who can add to or improve existing content, or develop new content as required. And our information specialists write a bi-weekly email to update all CLEO teams on frequently asked questions, informing Guided Pathways content and CLEO Connect training webinars.
Of course, we also closely monitor the usage of our sites, including page views, most visited legal topics and questions, use of our letter-writing and other tools, as well as feedback provided from our forms and emails.
A top priority for us in 2023 is more dedicated user testing that will explore issues of website navigation, including users' ease in finding information and tools on our content-rich sites, as well as their comprehension of our content.
Listening to community workers about their training needs
CAS image  

Since COVID-19 struck, our CLEO Connect team has been coordinating regular webinars for community workers on "hot" legal topics so that they can be better prepared to help their clients. Topics are selected based on survey responses, frequently asked questions on our live chat, and emerging changes in the law. The webinars have been very popular.

We do, of course, track the number of participants per webinar, and the sectors in which they work. In addition, at the end of each webinar, we ask participants to complete a short survey, which includes both quantitative and qualitative questions. In the summer, we circulated a dedicated survey asking for suggestions on webinar topics and feedback on logistics such as time, length, and format.
Many also prefer shorter sessions, so we now limit webinars to one hour. Where we have a big topic to consider, we break the sessions into two parts. Participants have said this gives them time to absorb the information in the first session, and to have any outstanding questions ready for the second session.
A couple of weeks ago, we sent out another survey to our list of interested organizations asking them about new ideas on how we can deliver more in-depth training (through online courses, for example). We're also asking what they would like to learn more about so that we can tailor the curriculum to their needs. All with the aim of delivering what they need, how they want it!
And we've changed many aspects of the webinars in response to the answers we've received. For example, we heard that community workers really appreciate that we allow a good chunk of time in our webinars for a Q&A component.
Listening to Guided Pathways users about their needs
Multiple streams of feedback inform the development and operation of our Guided Pathways program. Feedback starts during development, when we seek information about pressing needs from a range of frontline workers, such as family law mediators and staff at community and legal organizations. We use this to design new pathways, using an iterative process of trial and error, informed by student user testing.
Once a guided pathway is launched, we reach out to organizations serving the audience for the pathway for feedback. Everyone who completes a guided pathway is asked to complete a survey on their experience. We also conduct periodic complexity assessments – a process of identifying areas of complexity that need to be simplified, using concepts from behavioral psychology – that help us make changes so that our pathways are easier to use.
Like our other sites, we monitor usage of the guided pathways closely, including visits, attempted and completed sessions, and the number of documents created. Recently, we have added functionality that allows us to see the journey each user takes through their pathway session, including how much time they spend on each question, whether they access help content, and where they exit if they don't complete it. We also ask pathways users to complete a short demographic survey before they start to help us learn more about who is using the guided pathways.
Asking and listening is not easy. We continually look at how other public legal education organizations are doing this – People's Law School in BC, Legal Link in California, and Advice Now in the UK are a few that we're watching. We have a lot to learn, from them and others, and, most importantly, from people who need and use our resources.
March 2023
Copyright © 2023 CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario).
Connect with CLEO / Contacter CLEO:
Facebook icon
Twitter icon
Instagram icon
Subscribe icon

CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario)
180 Dundas Street West, Suite 506
Toronto, ON M5G 1Z8