Part 1: Get the most from your Audience Response System (clickers).

September 20, 2016

Get the most from your Audience Response System (clickers).

There are tremendous benefits to using clickers in any learning environment, be it a corporate presentation, classroom or lecture hall.

This article is primarily aimed at lecturers teaching with clickers however the principles apply to anyone presenting or training using clicker or audience response technology.

To maximise the benefit using clickers in classroom instruction or whilst training your questions must be intentional. This begins by clearly defining the goal of your presentation or lesson followed by defining the key objectives.

When we train our customer on how to use there clickers we refer to the following 4 steps:

  1. Establish objectives for your lecture.
  2. Determine the context for interactive slides.
  3. Create the questions.
  4. Integrate questions into your lecture.

Establishing Lesson Objectives

Establishing your lesson objectives will assist you in creating more effective questions that will provide you with meaningful data to enhance the learning experience for both you and your audience.

Here is a list of common objects you may wish to consider for using clickers:

  1. Improve lecture style based on analysing data collected in class 1
  2. Recognise students’ misconceptions or preconceptions 1
  3. Encourage attendance, participation, and discussion 1
  4. Modify lectures on-the-fly based on class responses
  5. Extract and discuss diverse points of view in controversial subjects
  6. Review, offer feedback, and identify areas of difficulty in the curriculum 1
  7. Evaluate mastery of content, basic topic knowledge, and comprehension: remembering facts, terms, concepts, definitions, and principle 2
  8. Judge students’ ability to apply concepts or principles 2
  9. Observe students’ ability of analysis and breaking down of the material 2
  10. Encourage students to try to synthesise material, producing something new or original from component parts

Once you have outlined your objectives, you can create effective questions and adapt your presentation to accomplish them.

Tips for writing your objectives

  • Strive to keep all your learning objectives measurable, clear and concise.
  • Make sure there is one measurable verb in each objective.
  • Each objective should have at least one verb. Either a student can master the objective, or they fail to master it.
    • Think about it – If an objective has two verbs (say, define and apply), what happens if a student can define, but not apply? Are they demonstrating mastery?

Determine Context for Interactive Slides

Next you should consider the most effective context in which to use your questions, the most common contexts being:

  • Pre-Assessment
  • Mid-Topic Assessment
  • Post-Assessment


Using clickers as a pre-assessment tool, you will be able to assess your students’ prior knowledge, as well as any misconceptions they might have. These types of questions should be used at the beginning of a new unit or at the beginning of a lecture. 2

Mid-Topic Assessment

As a mid-topic assessment tool, you will be able to assess your students’ current understanding of the principles, how they might apply concepts, and how their current thinking might be changing. These questions should be used occasionally throughout a unit or lecture. They will also enable you to alter the direction of the course by allowing you to judge the students’ comprehension. 2


By using Turning Point as a post-assessment tool, you will be able to judge the students’ ability to synthesise concepts in order to solve problems, to see how their understanding might have changed, and to observe their overall comprehension of the subject. These questions may be used for review at the end of a unit or lecture, or for assessment at the end of the semester. 2

I hope you find the above helpful in improving your lectures using clickers.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us should you like more information on how to get the most from teaching with clickers.

Related posts: Don’t miss part 2: Creating questions and integrating interactive slide into your lecture.


  1. Columbia University Effective Use of the Audience Response System: A Primer. Centre for Education Research and Development. Retrieved on October 23, 2006.
  2. The Ohio State University Clickers in Practice. Technology Enhanced Learning & Research. Retrieved on October 23, 2006.

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