Getting Feedback – Experiments with Poll Everywhere

*Warning, this post has little to do with access management*

We all know that getting feedback on anything you do can be very difficult. Despite how interested people are, finding the time to constantly feed in to work plans, questionnaires, surveys etc. can be taxing. When working with the REFEDS group I often experience these problems. Typically, REFEDS is a very dynamic and engaged group offering their own time up to meet the objectives set by the group. Because of its nature, we are very keen that all activities that REFEDS engages in are approved by the majority of members.

REFEDS is probably fairly typical that about 80% of the talking is done by about 20% of the people. As organisers, we get a fair amount of feedback offline, but it is quite often difficult to tell – is this really supported by the group, or have the supporters just shouted the loudest?

I wanted to try something different at the recent REFEDS meeting to get a broader amount of input. This meant that I wanted something where people could submit comments anonymously and with very little effort. I decided to give Poll Everywhere a go, and the results are here.

I have to admit I was nervous. It is perhaps a little gimmicky. It was straight after Eurovision, and I was asking people to submit votes. In Europe 🙂 It’s also a room full of quite techie people who often hate these kind of interfaces. I was worried I would fall flat on my face and not carry the audience with me.

However – it was a success! It went down really well, I got the results I wanted and the session was very interactive and made people smile. A couple of things I would note:

  • Do a test question that doesn’t matter as people will try voting several ways to see what happens to the ‘live’ screen.
  • Build in time for practising – it takes a while. Remember you are going to have to leave each slide up for a reasonable amount of time
  • Ask very direct, very specific questions.
  • Comprehending the code numbers for Poll Everywhere can take sometime. You can get rid of this by using a paid-for package, but clear explanation helped.

So overall a pleasing experience and it did help me make the final recommendations around ‘Barriers to Service Providers’ joining current federations. I’m not sure that if we make use of it very often in the REFEDS meeting if people will get sick of the novelty and opt out, but I was pleased with what we achieved on the day.

BTW – the only reason it was embedded in prezi was simply because the embed to powerpoint option just wouldn’t work for me and my mangled old work computer. It was however nice to have a fallback when I simply couldn’t get something to work 🙂