Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Case for a Virtual Audience Response System

Audience Response Systems (ARS) traditionally consist of  remote clickers and slammers. On a cue from the speaker, people in the audience use these devices to key in their responses. Typically used during presentations, such systems enable voting, surveys, contests and games. The central idea of using ARS is to foster audience participation.

All this is fine as long as you have in-person meetings. Increasingly, however, people are meeting online. It is impractical to distribute clickers to all participants in a webinar. In the unlikely scenario that you could distribute them, they won't work long-distance anyway. Here, you need an online equivalent of remotes - namely a virtual audience response system. Such a virtual ARS would be entirely software-based. The remote clicker or slammer would simply be a user interface on a computer or a tablet or a smartphone.

A software-based ARS comes with an added advantage - a rich user interface. This enables the addition of qualitative responses, not just quantitative ones. So, for example, you can conduct a brainstorming session online using virtual ARS, rather than just a poll. And you can gather key takeaways from a presentation by asking people to key in those. This makes a virtual ARS an attractive option for regular meetings as well, in addition to online ones. 

Thus, virtual audience response systems are not only online-friendly, they also come with the additional capability to capture more detailed qualitative responses from the audience.

A recently published white paper describes YawnBuster Connect, a virtual ARS used in conjunction with YawnBuster, the audience involvement software. The whitepaper is available on the YawnBuster web site. Apart from surveys and votes, the ARS supports a wide variety of exciting group activities that YawnBuster provides.

1 comment:

  1. You have two examples of this at the end of your post - Facebook and Twitter. Both can be used to comment "as live"