Topic 1 Feedback: Definition and characteristics

Why Is Feedback So Important?

Feedback promotes personal and professional growth.

Feedback is about listening actively, taking the time to analyze, and then thinking of the best possible solution to perform better. It provides positive criticism and allows to see what everyone can change to improve their focus and results. It brings people together and creates a healthy communication flow.

Feedback helps to create a friendly work environment.

Openness to criticism and an urge to seek feedback are the other positive effects that save you big time. It’s not uncommon that the best ideas come from someone on the team who simply mentions a solution to a problem or points out an issue that others haven’t noticed yet.

Feedback produces some business-related, direct benefits.

They are business growth, saving money, making more sales, completing projects on time, and other positive changes in finance, relationships with customers, and company’s market positions.

What Effective Feedback Isn’t

  • A grade or score. B+ or 67% provide no information on how to improve.
  • Value judgments. “Good,” “bad,” or “interesting!” don’t tell students anything about why you’re making that judgment – or what they can do to do better next time.
  • Advice. Opinions, guidance, and general suggestions are too vague.
  • Assessment. May provide broad comparative data about student learning but no real direction.
  • Evaluation. This is judgmental and comparative. It is often identifiable by the heavy use of adverbs and adjectives.
  • Praise. Positive pats on the back feel good but lack the detail needed to implement change.

Effective Feedback is:

  • initiated by the student, in conjunction with self and/or peer assessment
  • educators carefully gauged and promptly given
  • best meeting the needs of the learners, at the level of support they need
  • allowing time for educators to formulate it, and learners to independently act on it
  • taking place in a form of a conversation
  • Checked for adequacy with the learners
  • as concrete as possible
  • redirecting or refocusing either the educator’s or the learner’s actions to achieve a goal, by aligning effort and activity with an outcome

The Building Blocks of Effective Feedback for Learning

Do you support peer learning in your program? What effects it has on the participants?

Discuss the feedback you received from your learners. How was it given? When? How did you incorporate it into learning program, etc.? What other effects it provided for?

The Building Blocks of Effective Feedback for Learning

  • Goal-referenced. To enable high-impact feedback for learning, a student must first be working toward a defined goal. They must also understand that goal. Feedback can then relate directly to the goal. It can offer specific insight into whether the student is on track to meet the goal or needs to change course.
  • Tangible and transparent. Useful feedback delivers clear, specific details about how to better move toward a goal. It is so concrete and specific that anyone with the same goal can learn from it.
  • Actionable. Effective feedback provides concrete information upon which students can act to alter their results. By contrast, vague or value-based statements such as “Well done” or “Incorrect” don’t help students understand why they did well or what they should do to improve.
  • User-friendly. Feedback for learning should be carefully crafted. It should be delivered in a way that makes it easy to understand. To be effective, it needs to be accessible to the audience, be it an entire class or one student.
  • Timely. Deliver feedback as soon as possible after students have completed work. When they receive feedback while their efforts are still fresh in mind it will have its greatest impact. Ongoing and consistent. To improve performance, students need the chance to get feedback, try again, then receive more input. This is the essence of formative feedback.
  • Focused. Feedback should be focused on behavior. It should not be about changing a person’s characteristics or personality.
  • Proactive. Don’t delay or avoid providing feedback. The student needs to constantly know how to improve, or they’ll get discouraged. Immediately address smaller problems, and express how things can improve.
  • Descriptive. Use language that directly describes how a student’s actions need to change. By speaking in terms of behavior, the student understands exactly what they need to do to get better.

This topic was an introduction to importance and effective provision of the feedback to adult learners but also educators. The section focuses on explaining the building blocks of successful feedback delivery while it also presence the potential negative consequences of providing feedback in non-adequate manner.