Making Learning "Click"

Professors who use clickers in class to assess student understanding will see students’ learning improve, according to William Hedgcock of the University of Iowa’s Tippie School of Business in Iowa City and Rob Rouwenhorst of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa.

The pair found that students who use clickers learn more, enjoy class more, are more likely to read the textbook, and receive better grades than students who don’t. Handheld clickers allow users to submit answers to true-false or multiple-choice questions and give professors opportunities to assess student understanding in real time—and quickly identify and address areas where students are struggling.

During recent fall and summer terms, University of Iowa faculty used clickers in 84 classes. That included Hedgcock, who used them in two sections of his consumer behavior course. For example, in part of one semester, he used the devices to ask students questions and give quizzes on course content; in another part, he used them only to take attendance.

Hedgcock and Rouwenhorst found that when clickers were used to assess learning, students’ test scores increased by one-third of a letter grade (for example, a B would improve to a B+). Students also expressed more confidence with the material, because they could better assess their comprehension and increase their study time when needed.

Hedgcock and Rouwenhorst have published a study on their findings, “Clicking Their Way to Success: Using Student Response Systems as a Tool for Feedback.” It appears in the Fall 2014 issue of The Journal for Advancement of Marketing Education.