Learnings for feedback in on-line learning

A Deakin U seminar sets out how-to


The CRADLE research group at Deakin University ran a stunning seminar on Tuesday afternoon that attracted in excess of 500 participants, not to mention those who have been engaging with the  YouTube record that so far has over 730.

The session looked at higher education’s rapid shift to on-line teaching, learning and assessment and the many new opportunities and challenges this presents.

The panel explored the evolving nature of feedback in on-line learning, from technology and dialogue to the feedback process and on-line exams.

It was highlighted that relational scaffolding of feedback may be motivational and increase self-efficacy, but that it needs cognitive scaffolding. That is, helping students understand the feedback they get, through a process of sense-making, by using accessible language linked with empathy, which is a deliberate activity on behalf of the teacher.

This rapid shift has provided us with opportunities and risks, by rethinking how we can provide feedback in the on-line space and helping our teachers understand what quality feedback actually looks like.

This is a deliberate act; where feedback becomes an element of course designed process. That is, it is planned along with other elements of the course, which also helps to make this sustainable and not last minute or ad hoc.

Last, we looked at the feedback institutions gave on how they dealt with trying on-line formal assessment at speed. Institutions identified that they might have put a solution in place but are not necessarily wedded to that particular in the longer term. Instead, this was part of the learning process for many institutions, that potentially will have longer term benefits, post pandemic.

Professor Michael Sankey is Director, Learning Transformations Griffith University President of the Australasian Council on Open Distance and eLearning.