Utilizing Student Response Systems for Active Learning in Baccalaureate Nursing Courses

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Karen Johnson, MSN, FNP-C1
Cheryl K. Giefer, PhD, FNP-C2
Jennifer O'Brien Harris, MSN, ARNP1
1Department of Nursing, Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KS
2Nursing, Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KS

Learning Objective 1: Describe how “clickers” or student response systems can be utilized as a classroom teaching method in baccalaureate nursing education.

Learning Objective 2: Describe student perceptions of learning when student response systems are utilized in the classroom.

Project Summary:  Using “clickers” or student response systems as an instructional method is a widespread practice in undergraduate education and is a popular trend in nursing education.  The purpose of this ongoing study is to ascertain whether comfort with using clickers as a teaching strategy improves learner outcomes.  This project compares undergraduate nursing students’ perceptions of their learning after using clickers for the first time in a basic adult medical-surgical course with their perceptions of learning after using clickers the next semester in an advanced medical-surgical course.  The benefits of active learning are documented in the research and this study examines whether experience with clickers improves perceptions of student learning outcomes.
Methodology:  A descriptive design was used for this quantitative study.  Participants include third semester nursing students enrolled in an Adult Medical-Surgical nursing course and fourth semester nursing students enrolled in Advanced Medical-Surgical nursing.  The Nursing Student’s Perception of Clickers Survey is utilized to measure perceptions of student learning outcomes.
Discussion:  “Death by Powerpoint” is being recognized as an ineffective method of instruction for today’s generation of learners (millennial students).  Across the country, nursing faculty complain of students surfing the net, catching up on Facebook, sending emails, shopping, viewing photographs, etc. during class lectures.  Chickering and Gamson’s Best Practices (1987) are supported by student response systems as clickers encourage active learning, emphasize time on task and provide prompt feedback to student’s questions.
Conclusions and Implications for Nursing Education:  Gaming has long been recognized as a valuable teaching strategy that engages the learner.  A student response system that uses a “tech toy” is a valuable method of interactive learning.  Creative teaching sometimes utilizing a gaming format such a “Jeopardy” or “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” format; clicker technology brings this method of teaching to a new level of student interaction.