Use of a Electronic Voting System (EVS) to Facilitate Teaching and Assessment of Decision Making Skills in Undergraduate Radiography Education
EVS as a teaching tool was introduced into undergraduate education in 2006 as a means of increasing both student engagement and classroom interactivity. The technology was very positively evaluated by the students. 98.5% of students identified the EVS as being easy to use, 92.5% perceived that the EVS was beneficial to their learning and 86.5% stated that it was a useful tool for preparation for examination (Lorimer and Hilliard, 2007). Building on this research, the use of the EVS was extended to allow each student to have their own handset. This facilitated the provision of individual student performance feedback and was investigated as to whether this could be used as a predictor for achievement at summative assessment. Results demonstrated an increased and more normally distributed range of marks compared to the previous cohort. Good achievement in the formative assessment using the EVS gave an indication that students’ would achieve higher marks at summative assessment. The conditional branching application of the EVS was introduced in September 2008 to integrate decision making skills into the teaching and learning process. Conditional branching refers to the application of the EVS that allows the student group to control the order of slides in a presentation, based on the responses received to posed questions at key decision making points. In line with other established uses of the EVS, the anonymity afforded by the system promotes individual student involvement in a way that is non-threatening, so that all students have the opportunity to participate. The rationale for the introduction of this teaching method was to address the need for diagnostic radiographers to be able to demonstrate good clinical decision making skills, such that they can evaluate the clinical information presented to them in order to justify requests for patient imaging. This case study explored the implementation and usability of conditional branching as a teaching method from the staff perspective. The information will be of use to other academics or institutions to review when considering the purchase and use of EVS. Opportunities and constraints of the innovative technology were identified, providing insight into the viability of its wider adoption across different levels, disciplines, contexts and institutions. A significant perceived strength was an increase in the variety of teaching methods available for use. Utilisation of the EVS has been previously evaluated and demonstrated increased student engagement. Staff perceived that it was a useful method of teaching and formatively assessing the understanding of the clinical reasoning and decision making processes in diagnostic radiography. Constraints experienced by staff in using the concept for the first time were the time taken to create realistic clinical scenarios and appropriate decision making points. It also proved challenging to simplify clinical practice to an extent whereby it formed a straightforward clinical pathway. It was felt by the researchers that it could be considered as a useful teaching method, although it may be suited to a higher level profession, or level of study.