The topic of this issue stems from a desire to find the best free-to-use tool for collecting feedback after a presentation.
It is a common requirement for clinicians to collect audience feedback after a teaching session. This feedback contributes toward that individual’s appraisal. In my experience, this is infrequently collected and often done poorly.
Paper feedback forms are usually still the go-to tool for the job in most clinical environments, but these can be a faff to prepare and collate. Of late, I have been looking for the best online tool to use (and recommend) for this task.
The provision of a QR code that a presenter can drop into a presentation is considered a must, allowing participants to connect to the feedback form easily. The assumption here is that the workplace in question does not already have an electronic solution in place for this, or a paid subscription to a survey tool (that all clinicians can leverage). Readers with access to an account would likely be best to use any locally provided tool. No such service exists in the Trust that I work for, hence the desire for a free and easy-to-configure solution.
- Survey Monkey: www.surveymonkey.co.uk
- TypeForm: www.typeform.com
- MentiMeter: www.mentimeter.com
- Slido: www.slido.com
- Kahoot!: www.kahoot.com
- SmartSurvey: www.smartsurvey.co.uk
Free version limitations
When testing the free versions above, there were a few limitations that excluded some from further consideration. The main limiting factor was the number of responses possible per month (or per survey). Both Survey Monkey and TypeForm are limited to 10 per survey, which is insufficient for most. The target audience of Kahoot! (educator hosts and child participants) was clearly evident in the format and styling. Free text input is also limited in the free version. Slido is a nice tool, but the lack of surveys in the free version ruled it out.
The remaining two solutions, MentiMeter and SmartSurvey, both proved capable of easily producing a QR code-equipped, viable post-presentation survey. MentiMeter allows 50 participants per month to respond in the free account and SmartSurveys allows 100 responses per month. Neither of the free versions allows for exporting the results to an Excel sheet, but as most of these feedback forms will not need deep analysis, the lack of Excel export does not feel like a dealbreaker. A free MentiMeter link / QR code remains valid for two days, whereas a SmartSurvey remains valid until closed. Given most presenters will provide the QR code on the final slide, for instant feedback, the two-day limit is unlikely to be of great concern.
As a side note, I did explore the options within Office 365, but these were disconnected and difficult to link into such a comprehensive package as the services above.
Figure 1: MentiMeter.
Figure 2: SmartSurvey.
MentiMeter vs SmartSurvey
First and foremost, MentiMeter is designed for use during presentations to provide live polls, word cloud creation and quizzes. The tool has a modern design (Figure 1) and is easy to use. SmartSurvey is a UK-based survey tool, not unlike Survey Monkey. It has a more classical user interface (Figure 2) and is marginally harder to use. SmartSurvey is used in a number of NHS Trusts as a tool to collect patient survey responses, as it is GDPR compliant. It does not support live polls and data capture within presentations, but it is very capable as a survey tool for post-presentation feedback.
Creation of a feedback form
The process of creating a basic feedback form was straightforward. In both solutions I picked an appropriate template from a range provided. Both produced a very passable form at speed. The process of creating a QR code to embed in a PowerPoint (or similar) presentation was equally easy. In MentiMeter there is a share button and then a ‘Download QR’ button is present on the next screen. In SmartSurvey there is also a ‘QR Code’ button on the ‘Collect’ page.
The two solutions are quite different, though one is not clearly superior for this task that the other. Readers with any interest in using live feedback during their presentations or using voting or creation of word clouds would be best advised to use MentiMeter. This solution is also a little easier to use overall. SmartSurvey has strengths in the way the results can be analysed. The questions are also shown in a single scrolling list, which means slightly fewer clicks (or taps) for the audience to collect and submit data. The number of responses is twice as large in the free version (100) for SmartSurvey. This may or may not be relevant, depending on your intended use. Free account creation was easy on both sites, with no hoops through which to jump to access the free tier.
Both tools are great for the simple task of creating a basic, online feedback form to use at the end of a presentation. What sets them apart are their additional features that may shift the balance of favour.
Given the size of the market, the testing performed for this article could not possibly be exhaustive. If you use a better tool, that will fit these criteria, please let me know via the SmartSurvey QR code below. As this survey can stay open indefinitely, it can be used for this purpose, too. Even if you do not have an alternative to share, feel free to try out the QR code to test a SmartSurvey.
MentiMeter (free tier)
√ Perfect to add ‘in presentation’ interaction
√ Slick and flashy
X Link to submit answers only valid for two days
SmartSurvey (free tier)
√ Surveys stay open until closed
√ Larger limit of responses per month
√ UK-based and established in NHS
X More traditional, flat design
Declaration of competing interests: None declared.
The author has no proprietary or financial interests in the products discussed.
COMMENTS ARE WELCOME