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Active Learning Using an Audience Response System


“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think!” – Albert Einstein

Educators can agree that an active learning approach can lead to greater improvements and gains than traditional “lecture and note-taking” settings. Encouraging peer-to-peer interaction can help students construct knowledge and understanding, with an awareness of their own thinking as a by-product. Qwizdom Audience Response Systems can help transform the traditional slide presentation to an interactive learning environment. Below is a sample of how response systems can be used in an introductory psychology lesson to facilitate an active learning (60 minutes).

Topic: Processes of Memory

  • 5 minutes -- Quick MC quiz on what students know about memory. (Optional) Use audience response devices or the QVR response app to gather students responses in seconds. For added engagement, display the results for the class to see.

    Sample questions:
    1. The ability to store and retrieve information over time is called –
      1. cognition.
      2. memory.
      3. learning.
      4. recall.
    2. Which identifies a type of memory?
      1. retrieval.
      2. implicit.
      3. short-term.
      4. encoding.
    3. Which is an example of short-term memory?
      1. using a cell phone to text
      2. memorizing a phone number
      3. memorizing multiplication facts to 12
      4. using a mathematical process repeatedly
    4. Which is an example of long-term memory?
      1. recalling what you ate for dinner last night
      2. memorizing a new friend’s email address
      3. remembering the color of a shirt you saw earlier
      4. repeating a series of numbers you just heard
  • 10 – 15 minutes – Mini-lecture on encoding, storage, and retrieval.
    • Two-minute quick write after the introduction of each process (i.e. What is encoding?). This is an example of retrieval practice, an exercise that improves long term memory and the capability to learn new material. This practice can also help the student connect information to new learning in different areas.
  • 5 – 10 minutes – Peer-to-peer discussion of quick-writes. This think-pair-share method requires students verbalize their learning.
  • 5 minutes – Student share-outs of discussion. This also gives an opportunity to clear up misunderstandings and/or provide further explanation on the learning.
  • 5 minutes – Quick poll of class learning. This is enhanced peer instruction using a response system (devices or apps).
    • Pose a question that requires students to think about their answers before voting using a response device (i.e. Qwizdom Q6 remote or QVR polling app). Then have students turn to a classmate to discuss their answer choices. If during the discussion students want to change their answers, encourage them to do so. Share the data before and after the partner discussions which creates a foundation for further discussion on the learning.
    • Actionpoint offers a variety of question types besides multiple choice such as true/false, multiple select, sequence, and vote. The system also provides instant feedback and student data that can be shared with a large group.
  • 5-10 minutes – Discuss poll results and clarify any misunderstandings or answer questions
  • 5 minutes -- Generate questions to start the next class session
    • Use a graphic of Bloom’s Taxonomy, including key verbs for each category (create, evaluate, analyze, apply, understand, remember), as a reference to generate clicker questions. Have partner teams or small groups write a question or two from today’s learning to introduce the next session.
    • Collect student-created questions for a dynamic course study guide that can be posted to a class web page.

  • 5 minutes – Closure and preview next lesson


Active learning is an integral part of planning engaging lessons in a higher ed setting. The Qwizdom audience response system is as close to a complete solution (you provide the lessons) as is available. Create and pose questions for specific slides, view and share student response data immediately, and analyze student session data to inform future lesson planning.

The Qwizdom response solution:

  • works with your curriculum content.
  • transforms your PowerPoint presentations.
  • provides instant feedback to all involved in the learning.
  • generates detailed performance reports for later analysis.

Reference: Brame, C., (2016). Active learning. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching. Retrieved 03/21/19 from

Categories: Audience Response , Audience Polling

Tags: clickers , response clicker , response app , remote , audience polling , audience response , audience response app , audience response system , audience response best practices , student response , student clickers , student response app , student response system , student engagement , active learning , interactive voting system , powerpoint polling , powerpoint polling software

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