When it comes to instruction, educators and trainers all aim for perfection — a compelling presentation that engages everyone while conveying information seamlessly and effectively. Unfortunately, sometimes we fall short of that high standard. There is, however, a simple activity you can employ to make sure your lessons stay as vibrant as possible: polling in a virtual classroom with greater frequency.
Let’s take a deeper look at six reasons why polling in online classroom should be a regular part of your eLearning experience:
1. Polling gathers feedback to gauge student understanding before starting a topic
Just about every educator or trainer is familiar with the “look” — a puzzled expression of bewilderment that creeps across the face of a learner as the teacher launches into a lesson. This is a telltale sign that at least some members of the class are not up to date with the material being presented.
If this lack of comprehension goes unnoticed, disastrous outcomes are likely to ensue. Learners who aren’t grounded in the knowledge needed to absorb the lesson being presented are likely to become discouraged, and mentally check out. Many students either prefer not to speak up or are afraid of admitting they lack knowledge. This means instructors often won’t realize the material is sailing over the heads of students until the lesson has already concluded.
The answer to the common problem?
Greater polling in eLearning settings. Polls are an efficient way to assess overall student understanding on a given topic. They are more likely to admit they don’t know something if they are operating within a group context, which makes polls highly effective.
2. Polling provides immediate feedback that helps identify learning issues
Students are like snowflakes – they don’t process and learn information in precisely the same fashion. Yet most lessons, by necessity, are designed to be administered to a group. This means instructors need to personalize instruction whenever possible and use tactics that help ferret out any issues that are preventing students from learning in an optimal manner.
How do polls fit into this strategy?
It’s simple: they offer immediate, real-time feedback that can identify any problem areas. If the pace of the lesson is too fast, or students are having difficulty processing and retaining the material being presented, a poll offers a quick and accurate diagnostic assessment. Think of it as a far more engaging and instructive pop quiz.
3. Polling disrupts the monotony of a lesson by breaking up the content flow
Even the snappiest, liveliest communicator can find herself in front of an audience that looks bored or fatigued by the lesson being taught. This isn’t necessarily a shortcoming in terms of presentation, or an indictment of an instructor’s communication skills. Sometimes, the structure and flow of the content being offered is simply too long or monotonous.
Polls are a phenomenally effective answer to this problem. They ask all audience members to become participants, pushing them from the reactive to the interactive ground. Polling in a virtual classroom at strategic points breaks up your content flow, engages learners, and refreshes them.
Result? Better retention of information.
Polls also serve as an excellent icebreaker. If you’re looking for a productive way to get acquainted, or to help naturally shy or introverted learners get acclimated, I suggest you consider incorporating polls into your lesson.
4. Polling in virtual classroom allows you to stimulate discussion via open-ended inquiries
The free and open exchange of creative ideas is one of the most important elements of classroom work. When learners engage in discussions, they reach deeper levels of engagement, and “cross-pollinate” the classroom by exchanging their own ideas and knowledge.
While these discussions are quite effective, achieving this level of participation isn’t always easy. Experienced instructors know that sparking a lively group debate often takes a considerable — and not always a successful effort.
That’s where the value of polling comes in.
A well-timed poll featuring an open-ended question often serves as the starting point for a stimulating discussion. Instructors don’t have to worry about making futile attempts at prodding learners into discussions. Instead, polls serve as a launching pad. Because students naturally respond to polling in the classroom, any initial hesitance to join the conversation is more easily overcome.
5. Polling allows you to use close-ended questions to ensure students are retaining information
Many instructors and trainers are familiar with this scenario: You’re teaching a class, and everything seems to be going well — and then you discover that your students aren’t really retaining the information being presented.
This is always a troubling sign because rarely will you pick up on student comprehension issues the minute they manifest. More often learners start struggling earlier in the lesson, then fail to speak up and alert the instructor. This can cause learners to become demoralized, and force teachers to spend valuable time backtracking to cover previous information.
Frequent polling, however, is a smart way to prevent learners from being left behind. Instructors can employ closed-ended inquiries to gauge whether learners are truly retaining what they are learning. This makes lessons far more efficient and helps drive successful learning outcomes.
6. Polling allows you to gather important feedback at the end of a lesson
Feedback from learners is a critical component of the educational process. By gathering data, administrators and instructors can make informed decisions about refining lesson presentation and design.
Incorporating more frequent polling is one of the best ways to accomplish this. By applying the lessons learned from the feedback gathered, the educational process is open to continual improvement.
Polling is a powerful technique for improving eLearning outcomes. Let’s review six reasons why you should be using polling in the classroom with greater frequency:
- It allows you to understand how much learners understand before beginning your lesson. This prevents you from advancing to topics before students are prepared.
- It offers immediate feedback that helps identify ongoing learning issues. This ensures learners aren’t left behind because they can’t follow the material.
- It breaks up the monotonous content flow. This keeps learners alert and engaged.
- It allows you to ask open-ended questions. These inquiries are the spark that ignites valuable group discussions.
- It allows you to ask closed-ended questions. Such questions are useful tools for identifying students who fall behind.
- It provides valuable feedback into the process. Polling in a virtual classroom is an excellent way to gather data that can be used to refine the learning experience.
How to use polling in WizIQ Virtual Classroom
WizIQ Online Classroom allows you to create, edit and publish as many polls you want to conduct. This means you can ask as many questions possible during the live online session. Here’s the step-by-step process to use polling in eLearning.
Let’s assume that you’re conducting a live session on ‘mobile learning’ and you want to conduct a poll to check the understanding level of your audience. Continue to read to understand how you go about it.
- Create a poll
As soon as you launch your live class, you’re directed to a whiteboard screen. Right on the top, you’ll see an option ‘poll’ (shown in the below picture, highlighted in red).
Just as you click on ‘poll’, a screen pops out asking you to create a poll.
Enter the question and the options. You can create a maximum of 6 options. Click on ‘Add another option’ to increase the number of choices for the answer.
Click on ‘save poll’, in order to save and use this anytime during your class. If you click on ‘save and publish’, you’ll be able to conduct the poll right away.
If you choose to ‘save poll’, you will see this screen. All your polls will be saved. You can publish them and conduct polls whenever you want to.
You can also edit or delete any or all of the polls as and when required.
- Conduct poll
The moment you publish the poll, your learners will receive a pop up on the screen of their respective devices. They will be asked to submit the poll.
Meanwhile, you can see on your screen who all have submitted the poll and who have not. Also, who selected which option. There are different ways to see poll results.
The polling feature in WizIQ Virtual Classroom also provides you with an option to share the poll results with your learners. This is how it looks on the participants’ screens.
Polling in the classroom is truly a multifaceted and highly effective eLearning tool. We encourage you to use polling with more frequency — and to reap its very significant benefits.