Clickers in Biosciences: Do they Improve Academic Performance?

J. Alejandro Lopez, Chris Love, Dianne Watters

Abstract


While “clickers” are widely advocated for their capacity to enhance student motivation and engagement in large classes, the extent to which they lead to improved academic outcomes is a more recent target of research. The aim of this review is to analyse the literature and evaluate whether there is an improved academic performance of students in the biological and biomedical sciences as a result of using clickers. It focuses on publications in specialised peer-reviewed journals in earlier years of university and college. The evidence in the literature provides an encouraging picture of the benefit of clickers and identifies variables that may influence student academic performance. It appears that the benefit of the clickers is dependent upon the way they are used, the individuals and their prior knowledge. While there is evidence for the benefit of clickers in increasing student engagement and motivation, more needs to be done to address the scarcity of empirical and quantitative studies on their effect on academic performance.

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