Learning Catalytics

Learning Catalytics


Engage students in real time assessment and peer instruction.

Use a range of real time assessment activities in class to facilitate interactive teaching and peer instruction. Learning Catalytics is web based, works on any laptop or mobile device and allows for a wide range of questions types including multiple choice, text response, image upload and graphical response.

How does Learning Catalytics Work

Learning Catalytics is a web based classroom response system owned by Pearson. It positions itself as a tool aimed at facilitating interactive teaching and peer instruction. Using a variety of question types such as multiple choice, numerical, algebraic, textual, or graphical responses instructors are able to assess student understanding in real time. The analytics feature allows for intelligent grouping of students based on response patterns for in class discussions as well as statistics on individual and class wide responses.


Pose a multiple choice, numerical, algebraic, textual or graphical question.

Students respond on a personal computer or mobile device.

See and record results instantly!

Display results to promote discussion and activity.

How are UBC Arts Instructors using Learning Catalytics?

How Can Learning Catalytics Help Me?

Learning Catalytics can be a useful tool to help facilitate increased opportunities real time assessment, feedback and peer discussion in your class. One of the selling points of Learning Catalytics is that it allows for a wide range of questions and response types and inputs. These include images, graphing and text responses.  The range of inputs allows for instructors to implement classroom response activities that go beyond multiple choice.

Learning Catalytics is also designed specifically with the intention of facilitating peer instruction activities.  First, give the students a question that they answer individually.  Learning Catalytics then uses intelligent grouping features to help match students with others around them who differed in their answer.  Have students get into small groups based on the Learning Catalytics groupings and discuss their responses.  After a short discussion, students then answer the question again individually.  The peer discussions will often help move more students to the correct answer, while the act of explaining their responses to their peers helps to reinforce learning.  If a large number of students are still getting the question wrong, the instructor can go back and revisit the material in a different way.


  • Allows for dynamic group creation to pair students with differing responses for peer discussion.
  • Allows students to use their own device/cell phone to answer questions.
  • Strong web based analytics to help instructors improve questions and identify points of misconception.
  • Allows for more open ended questions and inputs such as drawing graphs or uploading pictures. Some instructors use this as a way to submit in class group work done on worksheets (take a picture and submit).
  • The Learning Catalytics web site allows instructors to create question banks and share these with other instructors.
  • For the mastering series of textbooks, there may be question banks already available and an integration with Canvas is in place for these materials.


  • Students will need to have their own device with them in class to be able to participate.
  • Arts ISIT pilot license with Learning Catalytics will be ending in 2019.


There is an existing Canvas integration with Pearson that allows for textbooks with digital materials to be added easily from within Canvas. Existing question sets are available for many of the Mastering series books as well as some others.


  • One of the creators of Learning Catalytics, Eric Mazur, uses a 30-70 rule when giving questions to the class. If less than 30% of his students answer a question correctly the first time, he will ask an easier question and not do peer discussion since the majority of the students will argue for the wrong explanation, implanting an idea that isn’t correct. In between 30 and 70 percent, he asks the students to engage in peer discussion and then answer the question again. If 70% of the class or more gets an answer right, he moves directly to the explanation, so as not to waste time on concepts most of the class grasps.

Getting Started

Discuss ideas and options with the Arts Learning Centre Drop by the Arts Learning Centre for a chat in Buchanan C105A
Email Arts ISIT Helpdesk Contact ArtsISIT arts.helpdesk@ubc.ca for more information tor to set up Learning Catalytics in your courses.
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