Back in February I did a blog post about the demographics of the people that use iLab. Since then we have tallied up our users and now have the stats on who has used iLab up until September 2012. Here’s what we have found about all the users iLab has had from May 2011 to September 2012 and the new users since February 2012. Before we get into the data, let me give a short disclaimer: We did our best to collect this data as accurately as possible, but as with any attempt to gather statistics, there may still be errors or omissions, so please keep that in mind. Though this data represents “what” is happening we cannot with any certainty say “why” these things happen. There are too many variables to account for. Thus any attempt to explain why the numbers are what they are is based on the best information we have and obvious correlations. Lastly, as someone who works for iLab, my analysis about why is probably going to be biased towards the positive. We welcome comments about this data and my interpretation.
By far the most striking thing about this new set of data is that not much has changed, except the number of people we have served. As of February 2012 iLab had served 335 people, as of September 2012 we have served 771 people. That’s a 130% increase in 7 months. In comparison it took us 10 months to reach 335 people. Part of this could be attributed to our new lab space that allows us to serve twice as many users at the same time. This could also be because more people have learned about iLab and what we offer.
Who uses iLab
As before, by far, most iLabbers identify themselves as students. Keep in mind that on the form we use to capture what kind of user someone is, they can select more than one choice, so someone could put themselves down as both a student and a entrepreneur. The biggest change in the user front is that IT Professionals has become the clear 2nd category of our users. Previously IT professionals, entrepreneurs, and other were all very close, but now IT professionals has clearly pulled away as the second most popular category for our users to identify themselves by. Perhaps this could be because the IT industry is expanding and more of our users now fall into this roll. On the other hand, this could happen because people from other sectors do not see iLab as a place that benefits their interests.
What events people attend
As before, our top event is still TED Talks, but now our second most popular event is Movie Night. Before it was Mapping Parties. This is to be expected as both these events recur frequently and require no technical abilities. Mapping Parties are our 3rd most popular event. Mastering the Internet, a course on how to navigate the online world, is quickly catching up as the 4th most popular event. Intro to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) rounds out the top 5. Part of the reasons these courses are so popular is that they are offered frequently, but this is in response to demand. Overall it could be said that this shows that majority of demand is targeted around introductory classes and events with a low technical barrier to entry. One big change between May 2011 – Feb 2012 and Feb 2012 – Sep 2012 is the variety of events we offer. We have gone from 10 to 21.
Looking at our events that repeat, Mapping Parties, TED Talks, and Movie Night, we see that TED Talks are far more popular now, than they were between May 2011 – Feb 2012. This can be seen both in terms of the total number of people who have attended at least one TED Talk and the number of people who attended multiple TED Talks. Mapping Parties now finish 3rd with Movie Night taking 2nd place. However, more users repeatedly attending Mapping Parties than Movie Nights. Though given how new Movie Nights are compared to Mapping Parties, this may also change soon.
Last, but certainly not least, we look at gender at iLab Liberia. While there is still a large discrepancy, 20% / 80%, we have improved by 3% from 17% / 83%. We believe that part of this is due to our efforts to reach out to groups that work with women and girls to bring them to iLab. For exampled our work with the group ICT for Girls (ICT4G). iLab will continue to work to lower this gap and engage more women.
The raw data in Excel format for those of you who prefer to crunch your own numbers.
Again, we welcome comments and critiques of this data and its analysis.