Feedback models for learning, teaching and performance

Elizabeth K Molloy, David Boud

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter focuses on the role of feedback in learning with particular emphasis on its effect on learner performance, motivation and self-regulation. The authors provide a critical account of definitions and models of feedback, tease out the conceptual roots of practice guidelines and highlight how individual, relational and environmental factors can impact on the utility of feedback as a performance changing device. Many of the conceptual models published in the literature draw on theoretical principles rather than empirical data to support the impact of feedback on learning/performance change. The empirical data from a diverse range of disciplines converge to a commonfinding-that written and verbal feedback in practice deviates considerably from principles of effective practice. The reasons for this theory-practice disjunction are explored, and the authors suggest that the lack of adoption of advocated principles may represent a need to look at feedback in a different way. A constructivist view on feedback encourages learners and educators to view feedback as a system of learning, rather than discreet episodes of educators "telling" learners about their performance. Highlighting the need for a shift in conceptual framework is not enough however. What is limited in the feedback literature is how to achieve feedback encounters that are typi fied by learner engagement. We argue that contesting the traditional, behaviourist "feedback ritual" requires leadership from educators, and a deliberate commitment to curricular redesign with purposeful and structured opportunities for learners to engage in feedback episodes, to put into place changes triggered by feedback and finally to re-evaluate performance in relation to set goals. Such a "system-orientated" take on feedback design requires upskilling of both educators and learners and needs to factor in the in fl uence of context, culture and relationships in learning.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology
EditorsJ Michael Spector, M David Merrill, Jan Elen, M J Bishop
Place of PublicationNew York USA
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781461431855
ISBN (Print)9781461431848
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Behaviourist principles of learning
  • Constructivist principles of learning
  • Feedback
  • Learner agency
  • Self-regulation

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