Using Mentimeter synchronously to support the development of students’ decision-making skills


Bristol Veterinary School


Jenny Mason




Jenny came to a DEO drop-in in August 2020 with a question about tools to teach critical thinking to Vets online. Padlet didn't quite fit with what she wanted to do, and neither did TurningPoint, so our DEO colleague made a Menti example of what she explained she needed, which she liked. After a few refinements Jenny moved it into her own Mentimeter account to work on it herself. It was a group diagnosis exercise where students weigh up 8 different pieces of evidence to decide whether a horse needs medication or surgery, and it needed to be done synchronously for an online session.


The objective was to allow students to learn clinical decision-making skills whilst learning online. These skills can be hard to teach and learn, and most of these decisions are made by collating multiple parameters. The aim was to introduce students to these skills, by using the online polling software Mentimeter.

What was done

Students were given a series of scenarios of equine colic, in which a decision would have to be made on whether to refer for surgery. In synchronous online sessions, students were encouraged to vote on the extent to which various parts of the case would influence their decision to refer. The student’s answers were then presented immediately and compared with the results from experienced clinicians who were also in the session and were contributing to the poll.

Whilst the scenarios were based in equine colic presentations, the teaching approach could be applied to any situations where a multitude of factors may impact upon decision making. Throughout the session students gained confidence in their decision-making ability, and their decisions became more closely aligned with the results from experienced clinicians.

Mentimeter scales activity with the title Evaluate the following evidence and scales for various factors (e.g. Pain, Progression/Passage of time, Pulse & Perfusion etc) that may help decide whether to refer for surgery. Students have voted how much these factors would influence their decision to refer.


What worked well

Mentimeter was used to help demonstrate the significant ‘red flags’ and to simplify complex decisions into the sum of their component parts. It showed the decision-making thought process of an experienced practitioner to help the students to mimic this behaviour.

Initally students failed to commit, and sat on the fence with their voting. Throughout the session however, students gained confidence in their decision-making ability, and their decisions became more closely aligned with the results from experienced clinicians.

Quote from Jenny's colleague:

'Decision-making, which can be life or death, for this type of clinical case is based on a balance between different clinical findings. Use of Mentimeter guided the students in interpreting the weight of their different findings and reach the correct balance. Once faced with a real case in the field, the aim is that they still follow this process in their thoughts, to help reach the best outcome for the patient and the owner'.

Issues and considerations

There are some limitations with Mentimeter that meant the scales showing the poll results couldn’t be so complex, but this didn’t hinder the overall sessions.

At the time this teaching took place in 2020, Jenny was using the free version of Mentimeter, which was quite limited. With her input as well as others in the University, this use case was put forward to the teaching and learning committee for the onboarding of Mentimeter Pro which has a lot more functionality. Menti Pro was implemented in July 2021.

Student Feedback

Students usually struggle with the clinical decision making in these cases as there are lots of influencing factors. Students reported that they found the experience very helpful in understanding and applying decision-making in this context.