Vote-Discuss-Revote (VDR)

Using Vote-Discuss-Revote (VDR) approach to rehearse information in a lecture-based class
Time and Effort
Instructor Prep Time Medium
Student Activity Time Low
Instructor Response Time Low
Complexity of Activity Low
Room Considerations None


Vote-Discuss-Revote (VDR) activities use multiple-choice questions presented during lectures to help measure student understanding and facilitate deeper learning. This is based on an approach defined by Barkley & Major called Snap Shots (Barkley 2018). Throughout the lecture, the instructor pauses to present a question to apply the presented concept. The question should represent a single concept, have a good set of possible responses, and have a moderate degree of difficulty. Students respond using Top Hat without live response viewing. The question is closed, and the instructor reveals the submitted responses. Students discuss their responses in pairs, try to agree on the correct response, and describe why that response is correct. Students could resubmit responses after their discussion.


Use it when you want...

  • Students to rehearse information presented in the lecture,
  • To check students' understanding and make adjustments in real-time,
  • To collect data and present results to students, 
  • To develop interpersonal skills in building consensus and weighing different opinions or
  • To build community by sharing in the construction of knowledge.

What students will need

  • A mobile phone or laptop to access Top Hat.


The following workflow is meant to guide how to facilitate a Vote-Discuss-Revote learning activity within a classroom.


  • Consider topics students have traditionally struggled with in deciding questions and possible responses.
  • Prepare an anonymous, single-concept, multiple-choice question(s) in Top Hat to represent those areas of concern.

Example of Top Hat Multiple Choice Type

What is the greatest risk of pesticides to soil health?

  1. Soil erosion and compaction
  2. Alteration of soil pH levels
  3. Disruption of soil microbial communities
  4. Depletion of organic matter content


  • Before the lecture, tell students you will be breaking to ask questions. Tell them when and why you will do so.
  • Present the question when ready.
  • Tell students this is not a graded assignment but meant to measure their understanding of content.
  • Give students 3-5 minutes to answer the question individually.
  • Close the voting without displaying the correct response.
  • Ask students to spend 5 minutes talking with the person next to them to convince them that their answer is correct and/or to come to a consensus on the correct answer.
  • Ask students to volunteer a rationale for their answer to the class.
  • Facilitate a discussion around the shared rationales and affirm, when possible, those perspectives.  Show the value of diverse perspectives presented through discussion.
  • Open the question for voting again and review the results.
  • Reveal the correct answer and explain why.


  • Review results in Top Hat to inform future course design.

Accessibility and Room Considerations

  • None

Technical Documentation


Example 1

An Introduction to Geoscience instructor wanted students to understand the basics of rocks and the rock cycle. Fifteen minutes into the lecture, the instructor stopped introducing the key concepts. She displayed a multiple-choice Top Hat question on the categorization of rocks. Students used their laptops or phones to respond to the answer they thought was correct. Without showing the results, the instructor determined whether the responses were worth further exploration. In this case, there was no consensus on the correct answer, so the instructor asked students to talk with the person next to them and agree on the correct answer. After five minutes, the instructor asked students to volunteer their rationale for their answers. Students were then asked to vote again, and the correct answer was revealed. The instructor explained why the answer is correct  (Barkley 298-299).

Example 2

In the Organizational Communication course, the instructor wanted students to learn about organizations and communication patterns from bottom-up processes to managerial top-down approaches. Main content units include historical and foundational approaches to communication, culture and power problems, and processes and application. After lecturing on the importance of effective communication on career success, he displayed a Top Hat question, "What percent of workers who lose jobs do so due to their inability to communicate clearly?" Before students were asked to vote, they were directed to talk with the person next to them and agree on the correct answer. Students voted for their shared answer, and the results were displayed with a correct answer revealed. (Barkley 299).


Barkley, E. F., & Major, C. H. (2018). Interactive lecturing: A handbook for college faculty. John Wiley & Sons, 297-301.

Keywordsrehearsing, information, technique, large class, lecture, large course, large lecture, large enrollment, pedagogy, lecture hall, large classroom snap shotsDoc ID128221
OwnerTimmo D.GroupInstructional Resources
Created2023-05-10 14:31:00Updated2024-04-16 12:55:16
SitesCenter for Teaching, Learning & Mentoring
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