Module One has highlighted the emphasis the SPEF-R © places on providing students with feedback.. This is done through both the provision of

  • ratings
  • qualitative comments and recommendations.

It follows then that the quality of this feedback is important if students are going to optimise their learning during their practice placement experiences.

Giving effective feedback is challenging!

The provision of effective feedback however has long been associated with concerns for both educators and students (Gibbs and Simpson, 2004). You will probably be able to identify with some of the following issues and frustrations.

Educators' concerns: providing feedback can be

  • time consuming
  • repetitious
  • unlikely to be acted on
  • difficult to give in a constructive and tactful way when performance is poor

Students' concerns: feedback provided can be

  • unclear
  • demoralising
  • irrelevant
  • untimely

What features of feedback are associated with positive student learning outcomes?

Because feedback has been recognised as such a potentially powerful learning tool, much study has been done to identify the attributes of effective feedback.

Think how you might incorporate the following features of effective feedback in your practice.

  • Sufficient feedback is provided - both often enough and in enough detail.
  • Feedback focuses on students' performance, on their learning and on actions under their control, rather than on the students themselves and on their characteristics.
  • Feedback is timely in that it is received by students while it still matters to them and in time for them to pay attention to further learning or receive further assistance.
  • Feedback is appropriate to the purpose of the learning experience and to the relevant criteria for success.
  • Feedback is appropriate in relation to students' understanding of what they are supposed to be doing.
  • Feedback is received and understood by students
  • Feedback is acted upon by students

(Gibbs and Simpson, 2004)

As you continue through this training package you will find a variety of practical ideas and suggestions to help you strengthen your skills in providing effective feedback. Of particular value is the concept of a 'feedback cycle' which provides a framework for incorporating many of the features of effective feedback outlined above. It will be explained next.

References

Chickering, A. W., & Gamson, Z. F. (1987). Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. Retrieved 25 February, 2008, from http://www.csueastbay.edu/wasc/pdfs/End%20Note.pdf

Gibbs, G. & Simpson, C. (2004/2005). Conditions under which Assessment Supports Student Learning. Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, Issue 1, pp. 3-31.