Clickers, Deep Learning, and the Value of Multiple-Choice Questions

3472576304_5457d43eb3_bMy latest article is now available in the POD Network Essays in Teaching Excellence series! The article is titled “Multiple-Choice Questions You Wouldn’t Put on a Test: Promoting Deep Learning Using Clickers,” [PDF] which is by far my best article title yet.

In the article, I describe four types of clicker questions that are useful for encouraging students to engage in meaningful ways with course material: one-best-answer questions, student perspective questions, misconception questions, and peer assessment questions. None of these would make much sense as multiple-choice exam questions, but as clicker questions designed to motivate and frame discussions, they work very well.

I wrote the article with clicker skeptics in mind, particularly those who believe that multiple-choice questions are of limited value. Many instructors see them as useful for assessing factual recall but not useful for much more than that. This belief is usually based on an instructor’s experience with multiple-choice test questions. However, multiple-choice clicker questions are used in the classroom, not on exams. As a result, they can play very different roles in student learning.

So if you have a colleague who hasn’t taken the plunge and tried teaching with clickers yet, I hope this is an article you can share!

Image: “classroom” by Flickr user velkr0, Creative Commons licensed.

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