biebel UX
John Biebel UX and Experience Design

Design: Live Poll

Learning Catalytics: live polling tool

Creating a live polling tool that allows for on-the-spot reactions to class dynamics, new questions, and prep for future polling sessions.

Pearson Writer: high level features

How to create a truly responsive polling application

App-led polling is a great way to gauge how a group responds to questions. It can be very effective in classroom or lecture settings. But just having a well-functioning tool that accomplishes this isn’t enough: What about a question that nearly half a class gets wrong? How can an app be most effective in those situations, for example?


This is a view of the dashboard of polling questions that are either created by the instructor, or provided to him or her through content associated with a course. They are editable, assignable, and can have follow-up questions added to them. They are presented as visual tiles with a synopsis of the text, sortable in the left rail.


Here the instructor has selected two poll questions which are queued up for delivery to the students in a live class. The “Deliver” button sends the poll questions to them to answer.


Students will interact with the polling app in order to participate. Here, a student joins mid-session to two active polls to which they’ve been invited.


This view shows two versions of polling questions. In the first, the question is one of visual identification. A region has been selected by the instructor which becomes sensitive to the learner’s touch on his or her device. It also shows the “correct” answer for what was entered as an incorrect response. The second question is a multiple choice poll which has been sent in two rounds. In the first round the learner got the question wrong, and was resent the question in round two. The emphasis on design in both question types is visual simplification, ease of use, and clear, unambiguous messaging.


This is a view of the instructor’s poll summary, where he or she can see how students have been responding to a question, and how that data totals for the whole polling session. This can then be presented back the class as feedback, or used as data to help form a follow up question to help students improve their comprehension. The action is done in a layer over the general class stats, so the question isn’t too far removed from the context of how the class is performing generally.


Working together in groups is one of the additional features of the product. Groups, for instance, are able to utilize a chat tool to communicate with each other. Knowing when and how to invoke chat was an important design decision. It seemed clearest to only allow for chat within the application when a group was specifically assigned a task. This kept the conversation in chat focussed and on task.


Class management proved to be an important part of the work flow for an instructor using a poll. A view of the students and what polls they were assigned to was important. Also key was understanding who was “live” in the class to participate, since working a remote poll had challenges, in that remote students might have access to other computers that could allow for some cheating and skew the general scores. Here, an instructor is able to mark students as being in class and therefore can bring them into a live poll for a quiz.


The following is a video showing the creation of live “hot spots” on visual identification quiz questions in a live poll.

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