Presenting an Online Workshop – Tips for Engaging your Audience: Part 4 – Polls, Surveys & Quizzes

Presenting an Online Workshop – Tips for Engaging your Audience: Part 4 – Polls, Surveys & Quizzes

Presenting a workshop to an online audience is not without its challenges. Primary among these is the inability of the presenter to gauge the audience’s reaction or to use any of the non-verbal (read: eyerolls, nods, smiles, confused looks, etc.) or verbal cues (laughter at your jokes 😉 ) that are typically available when presenting in-person. This five-part series describes tips and tricks for engaging an online audience and making the workshop experience an interactive one, including: Visual Considerations; Ice Breakers; Chats & Open Discussions; Polls, Surveys & Quizzes; and Breakout Rooms.

The simple fact is that it is difficult for anyone to pay attention to a presentation for any real length of time but when the presentation is online, and the presenter is not in the same space as the participant, this becomes even more difficult. The demands of life and the reality of attending a workshop online from one’s home or office presents multiple additional distractions than are likely when the workshop presentation is in person.

To reduce ‘zoom fatigue’ and to encourage active participation on the part of your online audience, several different techniques can be used. We started with Visual Considerations, Ice Breakers, and Chats & Open Discussions, now we move to Polls, Surveys & Quizzes.

Part 4: Engaging an Online Audience – Polls, Surveys & Quizzes

Polls, surveys, and mini quizzes are great tools for getting feedback from participants, performing learning checks, or gauging participant opinions for further discussion. The questions and response options that you intend to use for polls, surveys, or mini quizzes can be prepared in advance of your workshop and loaded to the zoom platform for ease of use during your workshop presentation.

The polling feature can be used at various points during your workshop presentation to break up large sections of lecturing and to engage participants non-verbally but actively.

Polls and surveys can be used to get a sense of who the participants are, the distribution of professions in attendance, or where participants fall in terms of opinions or practices regarding key issues.
At the beginning of the workshop, poll questions can be used to learn about participant characteristics, expectations, current practices, or any other information that might be helpful or relevant to the topic of the workshop.

Mini quizzes can be useful for quick “learning checks” after specific learning objectives are covered or after large sections of information are presented. These should be informal, quick, and are best used in multiple choice or true/false format. It’s best to conceptualize these as interactive tools for driving home core take-aways from the preceding lecture material.

Practical Tips 

  • You can set the poll results to display either in-vivo (live-time results) or after completion of the poll…or you can keep the results muted to the group until later in your workshop.

Next Up: Breakout Rooms

Authored By Leila N. Wallach

Leila N. Wallach is a clinical psychology doctoral student at Palo Alto University. Her research and clinical interests focus on alternatives to incarceration, culture and trauma-informed care, policy in the juvenile justice system, and risk assessment for community offender management.


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