"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."

~Neale Donald Walsch~

Friday, 24 March 2017

Feedback makes all the difference

Have you ever completed a test or a task and you can't wait to hear some feedback? I know I have completed a few courses or tried to cook something fancy and the feedback it almost as important as the work you have completed. For most learners they want to know they are on the right track. 

In blended learning environments teachers can provide face to face or online feedback. More and more students expect feedback as soon as possible. Online quizzes are great for providing feedback instantly however they can also be disheartening and impersonal if you keep getting things wrong. 
Whilst there is much evidence that online quizzes and tests can be beneficial for some learners this can be more of a hindrance than a help. For some trade students they have little access or desire to use technology apart from their mobile phones. Many dislike using their laptops and tablets because they are slow to use them and often get frustrated when things don’t work out. However this is not always the case. Two weeks ago a build a blended course for Carpentry students to practice their measurements and calculations. Many found this very helpful and the instant feedback certainly made a huge impact on them.

Blended environments means assessments can be flexible

In the past students have completed their written assessments via a Moodle quiz. More often than not
there have been issues with the connection to the internet and trade students like to work their calculations out with their hands (pen and paper). They are kinaesthetic learners and so sometimes an online assessment has to be redone because they failed only to pass when they were given a written assessment. In recent times I have used Google Forms to create online quizzes and then used Flubaroo to grade them. The students and teachers love it however they have not yet used this method for formal assessments.

Whilst rubrics can be helpful when marking assessments and providing feedback it ultimately seeks a judgement that is not always helpful. For the most part students near clear guidelines for what is expected however students are very much looking at outcomes in new ways than in more traditional ways. Entrepreneurial assessments may have broader assessment outcomes than say a spelling test. Modern learners have much more access to learning networks and learning that allows autonomy can more greatly beneficial to building confidence in learning that can’t always be measured on a rubric.

Use plain English please

Education jargon can be a stumbling block for learners. When providing feedback it is important that the feedback in plain English so that the reader doesn’t have to try and work their way through complex educational terms that don’t really tell them what they need to know. Giving video feedback and aural feedback can also help learners who don’t like to read.


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