IMPROVING STUDENT ENGAGEMENT IN LECTURES THROUGH THE USE OF FREE MOBILE APPLICATIONS
The traditional lecture puts the student in the position of a passive listener who should take notes and take on board what the lecturer is saying. Research shows that retention of information, deep learning, and problem solving skills increase when students have opportunities to ask questions. In contrast, research also highlights the fact that, even in small lectures, students are generally reluctant to ask questions, leading to passive listening.
This study addresses the question of whether mobile applications can improve the lecture experience for students, using their own devices to transform passive listeners into engaged learners. The aim in this study was to assess how successful the free mobile application Socrative was in improving students’ perceptions of lectures, and whether it did indeed increased their engagement.
The study was set within a UK University in a Department of Computing. A mixed methods approach was taken, surveying 160 first year students about their perceptions and use of Socrative as a tool to stimulate their engagement in the lecture environment. A focus group was also undertaken to follow up the survey results.
The study presents a description of how the tool was used within the lectures as well as the results from the completed data analysis. These results demonstrate very positive student perceptions of the Socrative tool and its ability to increase their engagement in lectures. The study also highlights student and tutor suggestions for making further improvements.