Hi! I’m Kayla Meyers, a senior consultant here at IG. It’s a busy time of year, and so for December’s IG-Ology, I want to tell you about using tools like Plickers and Poll Everywhere to collect live data from busy folks. Well-loved by teachers for classroom activities, these tools are also useful for making evaluation quick, accessible, and fun. With these tools, participants can use their phones to give live answers to simple questions. This could be part of a survey or could serve to inform the rest of a workshop (e.g., “How experienced are you in creating a logic model?”). These tools level the playing field, giving both introverts and extroverts equal say; the anonymity can also alleviate any power dynamics—like if a supervisor is in the room.
Plickers are free, printed QR codes that participants hold a certain way to designate their answer; the facilitator then scans the room with their phone to get a quick analysis of results. With Poll Everywhere, participants navigate to a web link and select their answers. The facilitator can then share those results live.
Let’s use the example of a group of employees discussing what’s personally most important to them: salary, PTO, or great healthcare coverage. A facilitator could use Poll Everywhere to engage employees with their cellphones—which they are probably already using at this meeting anyway, let’s be honest!—to answer this sensitive question in private. The combined results can then be shown to the group for reflection.
It’s important to iron out any technology hiccups before the real data collection begins, so I recommend doing some test questions (like, “Cats or dogs?”) before getting to the more significant questions. For more open-ended questions (like, “What should characterize our benefits package?”), consider getting stakeholder input on what the response options should be, so you don’t leave anything out. And, design your gathering in a way that allows both data collection and discussion of the live results. You don’t just want to know what’s most important to employees—you want to know why.
I hope this inspires you to think creatively about how to do real-time evaluation—happy data collecting!