Utilizing the Audience Response System (ARS)

Introduction to the Audience Response System (ARS)

The Audience Response System (ARS) offers the lecturer a tool to measure the audience's level of engagement by asking questions and polling the audience to obtain instant feedback. The following information will be extremely helpful to you as you build ARS question slides.

1. What is an Audience Response System?

An audience response system (ARS) is a wireless network of remote handheld keypads that enables everyone in an audience to be an active participant by anonymously communicating their thoughts and opinions while simultaneously displaying the results on a video screen.

The ARS network works by keypads communicating via radio frequency with a receiver that is linked to a computer. The computer, running a software program that integrates with PowerPoint, is in turn linked to an LCD projector that displays questions and their corresponding audience responses within seconds for all to see. All the data is captured in a database and can be converted into both graphic displays and Excel spreadsheets for further follow-up study and planning.

2. Why should I use ARS?

Encourages interactive teaching – interactive involvement identifies needs, tests knowledge, promotes learning, challenges to response and measures change.

Helps you to identify people's learning needs and better understand how to meet those needs.

Instantly adjusts and tailors your message to the knowledge level of the listeners by identifying that level quickly.

3. How do I use ARS?

Please incorporate audience polling questions into your presentation. These may include the following question types:

  • Yes/No
  • Yes/No/Abstain
  • True/False
  • Multiple Choice
  • Multiple Choice with Correct Answer Indicator
  • Rating – typically using a scale of 1 to 5 up to 1 to 10
    ( i.e. Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree, Extremely Unimportant to Extremely Important, Very Unlikely to Very Likely, etc.)
  • Ranking/Prioritization – allows the audience to pick their top three choices
  • Demographic – allows responses to be tracked and sorted by such things as gender, age, etc.

Include short bursts of 3-4 questions mixed in with your teaching slides to keep your audience engaged.

Consider Pre-and Post-Test Questions – Include a pre-test at the beginning of the lecture. Please also incorporate case vignettes followed by questions using ARS. Summarize your presentation with post-test questions followed by a comparative analysis of both sets of answers. The ARS, with well crafted questions, will measure participant's knowledge before discussing the cases and evaluate their increased understanding as a result of the case studies.

4. What are some Tips & Best Practices for Using ARS?

It is VERY IMPORTANT that you build your question slide in "Title and Text" format in PowerPoint and clearly identify them as questions. The ARS software will only work with PowerPoint.

When you are presenting an ARS slide to your audience, make sure that you read the question and all the possible answers before asking your audience to respond and starting the "Countdown Timer."

Keep questions short to optimize legibility. Keep your answers to no more than five choices. If more than five options are given, both the question and answer screen become difficult to read.

When building your ARS slide, please keep your answer choices to one or two lines each. You will find that you will get more responses if the audience does not have to do a lot of reading on each choice. Sometimes we have gotten comments that the time has run out before people were done reading all of their choices.

Ask "ice-breaker" questions such as the number of years in practice, the number of physicians in their practice, number of procedures performed, etc. to introduce the use of the interactive system and the keypads. These types of primary demographic questions should go at the beginning.

At the end of the presentation, use a question that summarizes the messages' key points asking the attendees to indicate which point helped them the most. This provides the speaker with an accurate evaluation of the effectiveness of the content delivered and helps for future course planning.

5. What has to happen to ensure a successful presentation using ARS?

Since you do not have the software on your computer, you must send your PowerPoint presentation to Projection a minimum of two weeks in advance so that they can integrate your presentation with the ARS software and prepare it to properly display the answers. Projection will send your presentation back to you for final review; however, since you do not have the software, you will not be able to test that the question slides work or display any answer data.

The final copy we send back to you will be the version on the computer in the meeting room where you will present unless you bring a new copy to the Speaker Ready Room with enough time to make the requested changes. DO NOT bring a new version directly to your meeting room as the computers in the meeting rooms do not have active media drives in order to avoid the spread of computer viruses. Technicians in the meeting rooms should not be distracted by attempting to make changes or add new slides to your presentation thereby risking that the session starts on time and each presenter has their allotted time to present.

Whether you are adding ARS to your presentation or not, it is extremely important that you come to our Speaker Ready Room at the Annual Meeting and preview your talk on a computer with the same specifications as the computer in each session room. We recommend that you check in with the Speaker Ready Room at least 24 hours in advance of your talk to make sure that we have the latest version and to make certain your presentation looks just like it did on your computer. There are so many different computer hardware and software specifications out there; having font or codec issues after transferring your presentation is not uncommon.

IMPORTANT! Visit the Speaker Ready Room to review your presentation.

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