Learner Engagement: Polling Activities


Polling can encourage active participation for large and small class/group sizes. Polling can be harnessed for many activities, such as icebreakers,  gauging audiences’ interests, comprehension checkpoints, reflection, etc. 




Polling Activities

  • Icebreaker

    • Starting out with a short icebreaker can support a feeling of ease and support community building.
    • Create an open-ended prompt for peers and you to get to know each other. We recommend sharing the results.
    • A word-cloud can be useful for a community because it shows connections. 
    • Poll Everywhere’s competition polling option can support extrinsic motivation and low-stakes ease. 
  • Predictions and Pretest 

    • Predictions:  before the instructor delivers content, participants must predict a correct answer or logical next step. The participants are tasked with using previous knowledge networks. When the answer is revealed, the participants become aware of knowledge gaps. This promotes a solid understanding of content for later application and use in tasks.
    • Pretest:  participants still predict, but the questions are deliberately close to quiz or exam questions. 
    • Predictions and pretest polling can benefit participants' scores by 10% (Lang, 2021).
  • Gauge Interests & Small Groups

    • Polls can gauge the audience’s experience, background, or reason for attending the presentation. This can help set the stage for interactions with participants.
    • Polls can ask reflective questions that promote personal connection to content.
    • Polls can be used to create topics for breakout rooms and small group work. You can either manually create rooms or use Zoom’s single choice poll that will create the breakout rooms.
  • Comprehension Checkpoints & Feedback

    • Add polls throughout a presentation as check-ins to gauge understanding. This can reveal if concepts need to be explained further or specific areas needing more attention.
    • Add a reflective polling question at the end to the presentation. Poll Everywhere and Zoom’s Advanced Poll has a short answer option if you’re looking for qualitative data. The data can serve as “feed-forward” information to improve future teaching.

Tips & Suggestions

  • First consider your goal before adding polling. E.g. do you want to prepare participants for a quiz, gather on-going feedback on participants’ understanding, etc.
  • Consider anonymity for sensitive information or encouraging unfiltered personal responses. Also, let participants know it's anonymous.
  • Consider Poll Everywhere over Zoom if you’re looking for more robust polling options.
  • Polling can help with participation:
    • Large sized groups/classes can easily contribute.
    • Quiet students can share thoughts.
  • Share the polling results for promoting sense of community.

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