Use of Classroom "Clickers" to Promote Acquisition of Advanced Reasoning Skills

Gregory A. DeBourgh, University of San Francisco


Use of classroom response systems (a.k.a. ‘‘clickers’’ or ‘‘audience polling systems’’) are growing in popularity among faculty in colleges and universities. When used by faculty in a strategic instructional design, clickers can raise the level of participation and the effectiveness of interaction, promote engagement of students in active learning, foster communication to clarify misunderstanding and incorrect thinking, and provide a method to instructionally embed assessment as a learning activity rather than reliance on the traditional approach of summative assessment for assigning grades. This article describes the use of clicker technology in a baccalaureate nursing program to promote acquisition and application of advanced reasoning skills. Methods are suggested for embedding formative assessment and the tactical use of questioning as feedback and a powerful learning tool. Operational aspects of clickers technology are summarized and students’ perceptions and satisfaction with use of this teaching and learning technology are described.