Effective feedback in both in-person and remote/virtual contexts

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Feedback can be in-person, remote or virtual.

We have to be careful with what kind of feedback we provide, especially in a remote/virtual context. This is because the learner does not have the same context for learning that they would have when it’s in-person.

In-person/Traditional Instructional Setting

In-person feedback is a very common practice in the Traditional Instructional Setting.

It is used in an effort to provide all the information that a learner needs to improve their performance. The benefits of in-person feedback include:

  • Immediate feedback,
  • No time limit on feedback
  • Provides opportunities for informal discussions and interactions between peers and trainers.

Remote/Virtual Instructional Setting

Remote/Virtual Instructional Setting is a training and development technique that uses technology in an effective way to deliver training that can be consumed anytime.

The benefits of feedback received through remote or virtual settings include:

  • Learners may feel more comfortable talking about their work or learning in a non-threatening environment.
  • Learners can get the necessary feedback to move forward with their education without any difficulties.
  • Learners can be more efficient as they can complete assessments at their own pace.
  • The time spent on an assessment doesn’t take away from other activities such as classwork activities.

Both types of feedback should be based on the following main principles:

Honest – Providing honest feedback to students is a crucial part of any training. Trainers need to provide honest and constructive feedback to students in order for them to develop their skills and improve their performance.

Specific – Providing specific feedback to each student allows the training organisation to understand how the training is progressing and if individuals are receiving a quality experience. Some organisations neglect to provide specific feedback to students because it takes time and effort. However, this is an ineffective approach that leads to students not improving their work and not learning from mistakes.

Growth-oriented – Feedback should not just be given as a negative but as a means of guiding the learner towards success and growth. Feedback should be able to answer “why” questions, identify specific areas of improvement rather than just focus on general topics and provide solutions so the student can avoid similar mistakes in future. When you provide growth-oriented feedback, it should be related to the student’s current level of knowledge or skill set. This way, it will help them identify areas where they need more skill development and where they’re at their peak. Your feedback should also be relevant to your student’s career path and life goals.

Actionable – The importance of providing actionable feedback enables students to take their learning and apply this in a real-world scenario. Actionable feedback is crucial for students to learn about how they can improve and not just focus on the reason why they are not good at something. Providing actionable feedback also shows that you care about the student’s progress.

Timely – Providing timely feedback to students helps the students progress faster, learn better, and stay motivated.

Objective – In order to get better results from students, trainers need to provide structured and valid feedback. A structured feedback session consists of a few steps that provide an opportunity for the student to get insight into what they did right or wrong during the course. In addition, it also helps the trainer understand what areas they need to develop further in order to help them improve their training skills.

Consistent – By providing consistent feedback, the trainers are able to provide their learners with a focused, targeted learning experience. Some organisations create a ‘feedback loop’ which consists of identifying barriers such as lack of clarity, understanding and skills, and then providing feedback to address these points. This gives learners an opportunity to reflect on their progress and make changes accordingly.

Open communication between all parties – The success of any training organisation depends on how well it engages with its learners. If the training organisation doesn’t provide any feedback or encouragement, the learners could feel disengaged and may not continue with their studies.

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