Constructive feedback to motivate learners

Constructive feedback to motivate learners

3.3 Explain ways to give constructive feedback that motivates learners

Feedback can be given informally during a tutorial, or formally after completion of a written assignment or practical exercise. It can be either verbal, written or both. It is important that the right time and place is chosen when providing verbal feedback, and that enough time is made available for the learner to ask questions. Remaining factual at all times should help to reassure, boost confidence, encourage and motivate the learner. Feedback should always be given at a level that the learner can understand, and be free from jargon. It should be more than a quick comment such as ‘Well done’, instead focusing on specific facts which relate progress in order to help the learner to develop. It is good practice to first ask the learner how they think they have done, as this gives them the chance to be self-critical and identify areas of weakness before they are pointed out by the tutor.

A positive approach should also be employed when providing learners with feedback on their mistakes. Positive feedback generally provides more information than negative, and strengthens a student's motivation and self-confidence. Negative feedback should only be used when the learner is able to make a change i.e. adopting a specific position when undertaking a practical exercise. Starting with something positive, before moving onto an area needing development, and ending on a positive note will help to keep the learner focused and motivated.

Whichever form it takes, timely feedback is vital, if it is to be effective. Ideally, feedback should be provided within minutes after finishing a task, or immediately after a student asks or has answered a question. When students learn new skills, feedback should be provided as frequently as possible.   

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