Context matters: Increasing understanding with interactive Clicker Case studies

Mary A. Lundeberg, Hosun Kang, Bjørn Wolter, Robert delMas, Norris Armstrong, Bruno Borsari, Nancy Boury, Peggy Brickman, Kristi Hannam, Cheryl Heinz, Thomas Horvath, Maureen Knabb, Terry Platt, Nancy Rice, Bill Rogers, Joan Sharp, Eric Ribbens, Kimberly S. Maier, Mike Deschryver, Rodney HagleyTamar Goulet, Clyde F. Herreid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Although interactive technology is presumed to increase student understanding in large classes, no previous research studies have empirically explored the effects of Clicker Cases on students' performance. A Clicker Case is a story (e. g., a problem someone is facing) that uses clickers (student response systems) to engage students in understanding the meaning of the science contained within the story. Using an experimental randomized Solomon design across 11 institutions, we found that Clicker Cases increased student understanding more than PowerPoint lectures in large introductory biology classrooms, although there was variation across institutions and topics. By examining student performance in conjunction with faculty experience, we found that strong Clicker Cases created dissonance, captured attention and involved students in interpreting data or making decisions. This study provides a model for collaborative research across multiple institutions and demonstrates the need for using multiple institutions and topics in research on education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)645-671
Number of pages27
JournalEducational Technology Research and Development
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgment This article is based upon work supported by the NSF under Grant No. DUE-0618570. Any opinions, finding, conclusions or recommendations expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.


  • Case
  • Clickers
  • Interactive technology
  • Performance
  • Personal response system

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