Learning patterns/Audience response system
What problem does this solve?
In conferences, it is important to know audience response in order to decide the course of discussion, determine the future plans and to understand the level of enthusiasm in the room. It is quite often not possible to ask the attendees to raise hands to vote for their preferences. This method only gives a crude estimation of the votes. Some participants may be too shy or be concerned about their privacy if they have to raise a hand publicly in order to vote.
What is the solution?
It is preferable to use audience response systems to collect the responses of participants at conferences. Audience response systems are most often internet based. The audience can leave their responses (including ticking off the box and writing short descriptions) on their tablet, phone or laptop device. The results of the poll can be viewed soon after the voting is closed. The results can also be instantaneously displayed on-screen. The participants' identities are usually not collected during the voting process, which helps in ensuring that people do not keep from voting due to privacy reasons.
Things to consider
- Check the availability and speed of internet connection at the conference room before launching the audience response system.
- Conduct several trial-runs before taking the poll to the stage. It is quite possible that something might go wrong during the poll.
- It is preferable to have wifi instead of wired connection at the conference room, even if all participants have access to the wired internet. This opens up the possibility for voting over phone or tablet.
- Explain about the audience response system before starting the poll. Make sure to say that no data that gives away the identity of the voter is collected.
- Always have a backup plan in case the audience response system fails. The backup plan could be as simple as cancelling the whole voting session, or using an alternative method for voting.
- Inform the conference organizers in advance if you are planning to use an audience response system. Communicate clearly about your needs and expectations.
When to use
- During conferences when it is good to know an estimate of the responses from the audience. During Wikimedia Diversity Conference in 2017, Mentimeter was used for collecting responses. More than eighty percent of the participants participated in the polls.
- During edit-a-thons or other other outreach events, where one needs to collect anonymous feedback from participants.