Knowledge Check

Students with raised hands

 A knowledge check is a flexible teaching technique used during a lecture to quickly determine the level of understanding students have about a particular topic



Download: One Page Summary

Why It Works

A knowledge check can:

  • reveal and quickly address learning misconceptions and illusions of learning
  • provide the opportunity to regain student attention during long lectures
  • improve long term retention via the “testing effect”


  1. Pose a question to the entire class.
  2. Collect answers from all students by clickers, voting cards, or show of hands.
  3. Frame your response to the level of student understanding.

Video Exemplars

Video coming soon!


Research Evidence

Content Description: Read this for more detail about how to implement knowledge-check questioning during lectures.

  • Wolff, M., Wagner, M. J., Poznanski, S., Schiller, J., Santen, S. (2015). Not Another Boring Lecture: Engaging Learners With Active Learning Techniques. The Journal of Emergency Medicine, 48(1), 85-93.

Content Description: This article describes the positive impact of knowledge-check questioning on student learning. Though the authors used clickers, these questions could also be answered using a show of hands.

  • Mains, T.E., Confrancesco, J., Miller, S. M., Shah, N.G. & Goldberg, H. (2015 ). Do questions help? The impact of audience response systems on medical student learning: a randomised controlled trial, Postgraduate Medical Journal, 91, 361-367.