Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Do clickers improve student learning and result in better grades?

A question often asked by lecturers is, will the use of clickers improve the student learning and result in better grades?

You'd imagine this is a relatively straight forward yes answer. For instance, the theory would suggest it, and the evidence must support it. It is not quite as cut and dry as you'd expect. The research evidence suggests audience response systems have positive effects on performance. Cavdar and Velasco (2013) analysis suggests from a student perspective, clicker tasks helped them understand the lecture, concepts discussed and course material. Although fewer students perceived it helped them prepare for exams. These findings resonate with other research around perceived engagement and actual learning (Oigara & Keengwe (2013), Welch (2013) and Denker (2013)).

However, the positive, impact on learning is in part associated with motivation as students compare their performance to the peers, and are motivated to self improve (Oswald and Rhoten, 2014). A strong message from the literature is the effectiveness of clickers in teaching is strongly influenced by the individual lecturer and the alignment of clickers to the course teams' pedagogical model (Monk, Campbell and Smala, (2013))

If you'd like to discuss how you might use clickers in your teaching, please contact the Elevate Team (elevate@ucs.ac.uk)


  • Brady, M., Seli, H. & Rosenthal, J. 2013, "Metacognition and the influence of polling systems: how do clickers compare with low technology systems", Educational Technology Research and Development, vol. 61, no. 6, pp. 885-902.
  • Cavdar, G. & Velasco, M. 2013, "Teaching large classes with clickers: results from a teaching experiment in comparative politics", PS: Political Science & Politics, vol. 46, no. 4, pp. 823.
  • Denker, K.J. 2013, "Student Response Systems and Facilitating the Large Lecture Basic Communication Course: Assessing Engagement and Learning", Communication Teacher, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 50.
  • Monk, S., Campbell, C. & Smala, S. 2013, "Aligning pedagogy and technology: A case study using clickers in a first-year university education course", International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 229-241.
  • Oigara, J. & Keengwe, J. 2013; 2011, "Students’ perceptions of clickers as an instructional tool to promote active learning", Education and Information Technologies, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 15-28.
  • Oswald, K.M. & Rhoten, S.E. 2014, "Improving classroom clicker practices: effects of incentives and feedback on retention", North American Journal of Psychology, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 79.
  • Welch, S. 2013, "Effectiveness of classroom response systems within an active learning environment", The Journal of nursing education, vol. 52, no. 11, pp. 653.
With thanks - Image - https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3467/3250101952_e4e6f4dc75.jpg

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