Feedback modes matter

Comparing student perceptions of digital and non-digital feedback modes in higher education

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Assessment feedback is increasingly being provided in digital modes, from electronic annotations to digital recordings. Digitally recorded feedback is generally considered to be more detailed than text-based feedback. However, few studies have compared digital recordings with other common feedback modes, including non-digital forms such as face-to-face conversations. It is also unclear whether providing multiple feedback modes is better than a single mode. To explore these possibilities, an online survey asked 4514 Australian university students to rate the level of detail, personalisation and usability of the feedback comments they had most recently received. Of the students who received a single feedback mode only, electronic annotations and digital recordings were rated most highly on the three quality indicators. Students who received multiple modes were more likely to agree with all three indicators than those who received a single mode. Finally, students who received multiple modes were more likely to agree that the comments were detailed and usable when one of those modes was a digital recording. These findings enhance our understanding of feedback design, indicating that it is important to consider the strengths and weaknesses of particular modes, and the value of offering multiple modes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1507-1523
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Technology
Volume50
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019

Keywords

  • assessment feedback
  • modes of feedback
  • higher education
  • digital feedback

Cite this

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abstract = "Assessment feedback is increasingly being provided in digital modes, from electronic annotations to digital recordings. Digitally recorded feedback is generally considered to be more detailed than text-based feedback. However, few studies have compared digital recordings with other common feedback modes, including non-digital forms such as face-to-face conversations. It is also unclear whether providing multiple feedback modes is better than a single mode. To explore these possibilities, an online survey asked 4514 Australian university students to rate the level of detail, personalisation and usability of the feedback comments they had most recently received. Of the students who received a single feedback mode only, electronic annotations and digital recordings were rated most highly on the three quality indicators. Students who received multiple modes were more likely to agree with all three indicators than those who received a single mode. Finally, students who received multiple modes were more likely to agree that the comments were detailed and usable when one of those modes was a digital recording. These findings enhance our understanding of feedback design, indicating that it is important to consider the strengths and weaknesses of particular modes, and the value of offering multiple modes.",
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