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 quick and informal icebreaker can support a feeling of ease.
    • Open-ended prompts encourage more meaningful thought. 
    • A word-cloud will show simple connections and themes. 
    • Poll Everywhere’s competition polling option can support extrinsic motivation.
  • 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. 
    • Pretest: consider questions relevant to upcoming quiz or test questions. Participants will get a chance to predict and see any “gaps” in their understanding, which will help them study.. 
  • Gauge Interests & Small Groups

    • Polls can gauge the audience’s experience, background, or reason for attending the presentation.
    • Polls can ask reflective questions that promote personal connection and thought around the content.
    • Polls can be used to create topics used for breakout rooms and forming small groups.
  • 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 if specific areas need more attention.
    • Add a reflective question at the end. Give about 5 minutes or more to participate. 
      • Poll Everywhere and Zoom’s Advanced Poll have a short answer option for qualitative data. 
      • The data can serve as “feed-forward” information to improve future lessons and gauge how students feel about content at the end of class.

Tips & Suggestions

  • First, consider your goal before adding polling. E.g. do you want to start a conversation, gather on-going feedback (check-ins) on the group’s understanding, etc.
  • To encourage honest responses dealing with sensitive information, let participants know you’re using an anonymous poll.
  • Consider using Poll Everywhere in-person or during Zoom if you’re looking for more robust polling and student data gathering.
  • Polling can help with participation:
    • Large sized groups/classes can easily contribute.
    • Quiet students can share thoughts.
  • Share the polling results to promote a sense of community.

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