Feedback is crucial for all types of projects , and across most aspects of our learning journey. It is also something that is not always used to its best advantage.
Feedback is information about a person’s performance of a task or about reactions to a product; and is intended to be used as a basis for improvement.
There are two types of feedback: intrinsic and extrinsic.
Intrinsic feedback is feedback from within.
What did you notice about the learning experience? – How did it go? – What worked – What didn’t go well – How could you do that better next time?
Extrinsic feedback is feedback from others.
Comments or ideas from colleagues, lecturers, peers, bosses.
Both intrinsic and extrinsic feedback are valuable. You will find that feedback can also take different forms:
- Positive feedback – when something goes well
- Critical feedback – when something needs improvement or is not right
- Unclear feedback – which is either not understood or misunderstood
Feedback whether it is positive or critical is valuable. Granted positive feedback is what we want to hear, however critical feedback whilst initially hard to receive is part of the learning process. If you don’t know what you are doing wrong, then you cannot correct it.
In the event you receive feedback that you don’t understand, then it is vital you go back to the person giving it and ask for clarification. Not acting on feedback is an opportunity missed.
Examples of feedback
Feedback is given for most marked assessments. Learners will receive feedback along with a mark. This is referred to as summative feedback. However it is also very important to consider formative feedback which can be given at any point. At each stage of a project there will be opportunities to receive formative feedback, and act upon this. Be proactive and ask for feedback when needed.
Acting on feedback
When feedback is received it is important to reflect on what this means and how you should react to the feedback.
Creating a ‘Feedback Action Plan‘ can help make sense of the feedback you are receiving. Phil Race (2007) makes the following suggestions to focus on:
- List the most significant feedback comments you have received.
- What do these really mean? (e.g. after asking the lecturers, or after discussing with other students, or after reflecting further on the work and the feedback
- To what extent did you agree with the feedback?
- Note the things you did that a) attracted positive feedback and b) attracted critical feedback.
- Are there any recurring trends in the feedback you are receiving?
- Note the things you can do to build on the positive feedback in my future work.
- Note the things you can do to address the critical feedback in my future work.
- What further positive feedback have you received on your work from other people?
- What further critical feedback have you received on your work from other people?
- What is the single most important thing for me to keep doing in my future work on the basis of this feedback?
- What is the single most important thing for me to improve in my future work on the basis of this feedback?
Adapted from Phil Race (2007: 102) ‘How to Get a Good Degree’ 2nd Edn. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Download a ‘Feedback Action Plan’ here