Dr Mark Butlin is a senior lecturer in the Department of Biomedical Sciences.   Mark has redesigned his approach to practical activities to lead group work through use of technology.  Every second practical is now based around a Kahoot quiz.  Students work in small groups to discuss the question and collaboratively submit one answer in a timed quiz.  Only one person per group needs a device for the group to participate.  Kahoot is perfect for introducing new topics, structuring content, encouraging teamwork – you name it!

How does Mark use Kahoot?

Mark uses Kahoot to engage students with critically thinking about practical tasks that are about to be undertaken, and then review the outcomes of the tasks when done.  You may prefer another student-response system like the University’s ALP system – the principle is the same.  Mark prefers Kahoot because it has gaming elements such as a points system and can incorporate custom visuals.  Kahoot is easy to set up and use with students.    

The value of peer learning

Creating a Kahoot quiz is a simple process; generating good distractors (like any multiple-choice quiz) is the hard part and not something to focus on here!  The literature tells us that active learning, at the heart of student-centred learning, is much better for student engagement and achievement than traditional approaches.  Technology and fun aside, there is a great deal of research that supports the value of peer learning.  

Time limits can be applied to each question resulting in points awarded not only for correct answers but to the group which answers the quickest; so, students are racing the clock and each other.  Once you launch the game, a pin is generated which enables students to join the quiz; no special log in is required. 

…learning with and from each other is a necessary and important aspect of all courses. The role it plays varies widely and the forms it takes are very diverse, but without it students gain an impoverished education.

(Boud, 2001)

In addition to the acquisition of content knowledge, peer learning, especially in small collaborative groups, nurtures and fosters the development of: 

  • self-directed learning skills, and thus lays the foundation for life-long continuing self-education;
  • critical thinking and problem-solving skills;
  • communication, interpersonal and teamwork skills;
  • and learning through self, peer assessment and critical reflection.
students doing groupwork

Prior to introducing Kahoot to practical tasks, Mark took a more traditional approach of problem-solving. The former strategy was less fun and engaging for students. Now, if you “peered” into Mark’s tutorial you would most likely find students having fun in small groups and enjoying the learning activity, oh, and learning content knowledge.  The literature tells us that peer learning can strongly motivate student learning.  Peer learning is a quality-enhancing strategy that will better prepare students for professional life. 

I find now that students are more actively engaged in the learning activities I have planned.

Dr Mark Butlin

Posted by Lyn Collins

Senior Instructional Designer in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *