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Using Quizlet for Teaching A-level Sociology

Quizlet is basically an online flashcard and quiz generator – you simply set up a discrete ‘study set’, for example, ‘the Functionalist Perspective on Education’ and create a range of flashcards with brief definitions of key concepts or an overview of the key ideas of theorists, or even ‘stock evaluations’.

In the background of Quizlet… it’s so easy to use…

Sociology quiz


Quizlet saves your Flashcards and creates a number of different test formats – the three most useful of which are ‘learn’, ‘match’ and ‘test’, at least IMO for reviewing basic knowledge of A-level sociology.

teaching sociology online
Quizlet’s range of test options

It’s extremely useful for reviewing AO1 (knowledge) and ‘stock’ AO3 – evaluations – basically any kind of knowledge that you might usually review using a sentence sort or matching type activity – content such as…

  • basic definitions of key sociological concepts – such as this ‘research methods, the basics‘ quizlet
  • the key ideas of the sociological perspectives – Functionalism, Marxism etc – for example this ‘Functionalist perspective on education‘ quizlet
  • reinforcing categories of knowledge for some A-level sociology content -e.g. what’s an in-school factor, what’s an out-of school factor, what’s a pull factor, and what’s a push factor…. you might (you might not!) like this ‘rinse and repeat Functionalism/ Marxism‘ test I put together.
  • key facts and stats (assuming the answers are very discrete – basic stats on education, crime and the family for example.
  • The strengths and limitations of research method.
  • key names – the basics of who said what, who researched what.
  • basic ‘stock evaluations’ one perspective makes of another.

What Quizlet is useful for (for A-level sociology)

  • There are lots of concepts which students need to know, a combination of flashcards, testing and matching games are quite useful for keeping this ticking over.
  • It’s also useful for getting students to spell certain words correctly, some of the testing formats demand this!
  • It gives feedback on what students keep getting wrong.
  • NB – Unlike Socrative and Kahoot, Quizlet tests are always around, always ‘on’ if you like, students have access to the information at all times, the other two are only playable ‘live’.
  • There is an excellent ‘live’ version of Quizlet which randomly allocates students to teams – I won’t explain how this works here, but it’s quite a nice way to break up a lesson!
  • If you sign up for the pro-version, you can create classes and monitor students work – although I imagine professionals already have enough data to deal with!
  • You can also nab other people’s Quizlets… copy them and edit them so they fit you’re own particular whimsy…

What are the limitations of Quizlet?

  • I cannot see how you can use it to develop analytical skills. I suppose you could with the use of careful and cunning questioning, but I can’t see the point, you may as well just do this aspect of teaching face to face.
  • Also, the same goes for deep evaluation skills, you can’t really tap into this.
  • Basically, you can’t develop ‘chains of reasoning’ on Quizlet, or do anything developmental and discursive.

In conclusion – how to use Quizlet effectively for teaching A level sociology? 

Recognize its limitations – good for basic knowledge reviewing, memorizing in a rinse and repeat style, useful for breaking up lessons occasionally, but you can’t develop effective analytical or deep evaluative skills with it!

NB – You also have to make sure that one side of the flash card is short, ideally just one word, rather than complex and long-winded questions. That way most of the test functions work much more effectively.


2 thoughts on “Using Quizlet for Teaching A-level Sociology

  1. Thanks for the comment – I agree, it’s good for breaking up lessons, but completely limited to ‘rinse and repeat’!

  2. The key here is the content of the last paragraphs…such devices tend to reinforce the importance of the lowest level of learning over the much more important goals related to critical thinking. Vocabulary and concepts learned during the process of analytical thinking are likely to last for years; taught via Quizlet, 95% of what is learned will last until the test is over.

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