Slide-based lectures are a surefire way to disengage your students – especially in online classes.
For example, let’s say you’re teaching a lesson on finance and you want to define a number of different concepts:
- Profit vs Revenue
- Customer Acquisition Cost
The most boring way to present this will be to talk through a set of slides with definitions on them, like so:
A more engaging way to teach is to replace your slides with a no-stakes pre-quiz where students get to test their knowledge of concepts before you present them. That ends up looking something like:
How to Gamify Lectures
- For every concept you want to cover in class, create a quiz question that asks your students something about that concept. For example, you might ask:
“What is the difference between gross profit and net profit?”
- A) Gross profit refers to physical goods (e.g. groceries) and net profit refers to virtual goods (e.g. internet “net” goods).
- B) Gross profit is how much money made in total. Net profit is how much money made after expenses.
- C) Gross profit is how much money made minus the cost of goods sold. Net profit is how much money made after all expenses and taxes.
- D) Net profit is how much money made in total. Gross profit is how much money made after expenses.
- Instead of asking your students to complete all of the quiz questions at once, you’ll show them the first quiz question before you’ve given them the answer. By asking your students a question about a topic before you’ve spoken about it, you’re inviting them to actively engage and test their knowledge on the subject.
- After your students answer the first question, you’ll be able to see which students got it correct and the students who answered the question most quickly, will show up on your quiz’s “Leaderboard.”
- Now that you know who mostly quickly answered the question correctly (they’ll be #1 on your leaderboard), you can ask that student to explain to everyone else why their answer was correct.
- You reinforce what your student says and round out any points they missed.
- Repeat this process for the remaining questions and you’ll have converted your lecture into an interactive game.
See it in Action
Enter your email address below to see exactly how we use this technique to teach our Engaging Students Online Virtual Conference attendees:
Benefits of this Approach
- Activates your passive students. Instead of half-listening to you talk through bullets, this interactive quiz format invites students to actively test their knowledge of a subject. Game mechanics like points, a leaderboard, and a timer all help students focus their attention on the material you’re presenting by asking them to do more work than a typical lecture, not less.
- Students teach each other. Because you’re asking students to explain to one another why an answer is correct, they’ll do the majority of talking and be able to speak in a way that is more engaging to other students.
- Wrong answers inspire learning. Students, like all of us, learn more from mistakes than successes, so inviting them to take their best guess at answering a question before you’ve given them the definite answer creates an opportunity for them to learn either way:
- If they get the question right, they’ll confirm some information they already knew.
- If they get the question wrong, they’ll be primed and ready to learn the correct answer.
- Discover what your students already know / what they need help with. These quizzes are, at their core, formative assessment tools. When the majority of your class gets a question correct, that means they know that concept well and you can devote more time to covering concepts your students don’t know well (i.e. more of their answers were incorrect).
- Use tools like Slido (our favorite) or Kahoot! (another great option).
- Make the questions hard, but not impossible. If the questions are too easy, students will get bored. If they’re impossible, they’ll start randomly guessing. If however, the questions are hard by doable, you’ll take advantage of the fact that students learn more when they get questions wrong, while keeping questions within the zone of proximal development.
- Don’t overdo it. This is a great technique, but if you do it every class it’s benefits will wear off. Instead, mix this approach up with a number of experiential exercises (like those in the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum).
Finally, here are a couple of quick tutorial videos that demonstrate how to use Slido quizzes:
If your students aren’t as engaged as you think they could be, give this technique a shot. It’s worked wonders for us, and we’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.