Clickers, Deep Learning, and the Value of Multiple-Choice Questions
CFT assistant director Derek Bruff has an article, “Multiple-Choice Questions You Wouldn’t Put on a Test: Promoting Deep Learning Using Clickers,” in the latest volume of the POD Network‘s Essays in Teaching Excellence series.
In the article, Bruff describes 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, Bruff argues, but as clicker questions designed to motivate and frame discussions, they work very well.
Bruff wrote the article for instructors who are skeptical of the value of multiple-choice questions in teaching. 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.
See our teaching guide on classroom response systems (clickers) for more information on teaching with clickers at Vanderbilt. See also previous blog posts about teaching with clickers.
Image: “classroom” by Flickr user velkr0, Creative Commons licensed.