Role of an audience response system in didactic attendance and assessment

J Grad Med Educ. 2014 Jun;6(2):335-7. doi: 10.4300/JGME-D-13-00285.1.


Background: The Residency Review Committee for Emergency Medicine mandates conference participation, but tracking attendance is difficult and fraught with errors. Feedback on didactic sessions, if not collected in real time, is challenging to obtain.

Objective: We assessed whether an audience response system (ARS) would (1) encourage residents to arrive on time for lectures, and (2) increase anonymous real-time audience feedback.

Methods: The ARS (Poll Everywhere) provided date/time-stamped responses to polls from residents, including a question to verify attendance and questions to gather immediate, anonymous postconference evaluations. Fisher exact test was used to calculate proportions.

Results: The proportion of residents who completed evaluations prior to the institution of the ARS was 8.75, and it was 59.42 after (P < .001). The proportion of faculty who completed evaluations prior to using the ARS was 6.12, and it was 85.71 after (P < .001). The proportion of residents who reported they had attended the conference session was 55 for the 3 weeks prior to initiating the ARS, decreasing to 46.67 for the 3 weeks during which the ARS was used to take attendance (P = .46). The proportion of faculty who reported attending the conference was 5.56 for the 3 weeks prior to ARS initiation, decreasing to 4.44 for the 3 weeks while using the ARS (P = .81).

Conclusions: Audience response systems are an effective way to verify attendance and tardiness, eliminating the subjective effect of attendance takers' leniency and increasing completion of evaluations for didactic sessions.