One of the best ways to improve a student’s learning experience is for instructors to provide quality and timely feedback. One of the best ways to improve an instructor’s teaching is to gather quality and timely feedback from students and colleagues. Providing and collecting feedback can be a time-consuming process, but feedback is essential to the learning process and, when done well, can actually save you time and grief.
In this guide, we share some advice on providing effective feedback to your students, collecting meaningful feedback for yourself and facilitating peer feedback/review exercises. In general, feedback comes in two main types:
These categories also apply to the feedback collected on an instructor’s teaching. For example, you might collect “fast, early feedback” from students early in the course on things like the pace of the course, clarity of explanations, etc. This formative feedback allows you to tailor subsequent teaching to the needs of the students in the current offering of the course. A course evaluation survey, conducted at the end of the semester, is summative feedback that can be used to improve future offerings of the course, but has no impact on current students.
If you would like more examples of feedback strategies, peer feedback exercises, or to consult on employing feedback in your course, contact email@example.com to talk to an education developer or instructional designer.
“Feedback is one of the most powerful influences on learning and achievement, but this impact can be either positive or negative.”
- Hattie & Timperley, 2007
Hattie and Timperley provide both an endorsement of feedback and a warning: when not done well, feedback can actually have a detrimental effect on student learning. So, how do we provide feedback in a way that enhances learning?
Ambrose, A., Bridges, M., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M., & Mayer, R. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. Jossey-Bass.
Angelo, T. & Cross, P. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college teachers (2nd edition). Jossey-Bass.
Darby, F., & Lang, J. (2019). Small teaching online: Applying learning science in online classes. Jossey-Bass. See especially Chapter 5: Giving Feedback.
Earl, L. (2003). Assessment as learning: Using classroom assessment to maximise student learning. Corwin Press.
Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81–112. https://doi.org/10.3102%2F003465430298487
Shute, V. (2008). Focus on formative feedback. Review of Educational Research, 78(1), 153–189. https://doi.org/10.3102%2F0034654307313795
Suskie, L. (2009). Assessing student learning: A common sense guide (2nd edition). Jossey-Bass.
Walvoord, B., & Anderson, V. (2010). Effective grading: A tool for learning and assessment in college (2nd edition). Jossey-Bass.
Wiggins, G. (2012). 7 keys to effective feedback. Educational Leadership, 70(1), 10–16.
Effective teachers continually reflect on their practice. Each day brings an opportunity to learn and grow from our experiences. We can get feedback on what's working or not working through our own self-reflection, inviting peer feedback, and receiving feedback from students. When we invite feedback from students and then demonstrate we are listening to them by making modifications to our teaching, we are modelling how to give and receive feedback in order to improve learning.
Periodically gather feedback from students about their experience in the class. This can be done anonymously or not, through a wide range of techniques. Here are just a few examples of formative feedback questions and activities you can use with your students:
You can use simple sticky notes to collect feedback in class or use the Survey tool into D2L to collect and analyze the results. For more ideas on quick and easy ways to gather feedback, see Angelo & Cross, Classroom Assessment Techniques (1993).
Peer feedback (or peer review) is a common practice among scholars and can also be applied in a student learning environment. Peer feedback is frequently used in writing-intensive disciplines, but can be used in almost any course where students are able to observe and comment on each other’s performance. Most students are not trained to provide effective feedback, which means you must guide them through the process for the feedback to be useful.
Peer feedback has several key benefits. It involves students more directly in the assessment process, which means they gain tools for reflecting on their own work. And, while it does not replace the role of instructor feedback, effectively facilitated peer feedback can ease the instructor workload by providing valuable formative feedback on work in progress.
The following steps can be used to facilitate a peer feedback exercise in your course.
NEW! Provide video feedback quickly and easily with Kaltura Express Capture. See the video below for a demonstration or check out our eLearning tutorial here.