Click it: assessment of classroom response systems in physician assistant education

J Allied Health. Spring 2011;40(1):e1-5.


The effect that classroom response systems, or clickers, have on knowledge retention and student satisfaction was studied in a physician assistant program. A clicker, a device similar to a remote control, was used by students to answer questions during lectures. This new technology has been marketed to educators as beneficial in keeping students actively involved and increasing their attentiveness in the classroom. To date, the results of studies on knowledge retention with the use of clickers have been mixed. For this pilot study, the students were divided into two groups with a pre- and post-test given in order to evaluate knowledge retention. One group received lectures in a traditional format, while the other group received the lectures incorporating clicker response questions. After the test scores from four lectures were analyzed, the incorporation of clickers did not alter knowledge retention. Retention of knowledge from both groups was similar and no statistical difference was found. However, student satisfaction regarding the use of clickers was positive. Students reported that clickers kept them more actively involved, increased attentiveness, and made lectures more enjoyable. Although the pilot study did not show a greater improvement in knowledge retention with the use of clickers, further research is needed to assess their effectiveness.

MeSH terms

  • Computer-Assisted Instruction*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Educational Measurement / methods*
  • Humans
  • Physician Assistants / education*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Teaching / methods*
  • User-Computer Interface*