Empowering student learning: Using comparison and feedback as drivers of self-directed learning


The Initative Team

Initiative Lead
Trinity College Dublin

Primary Contact
Professor Mairead Brady & Prof. Martin Fellenz

Initiative Budget


Initiative Type


This T&L initiative ‘Empowering student learning: Using comparison and feedback as drivers of self-directed learning’ applies a comparison-based approach to feedback generation and use. This is transformative in nature and of immense potential value to both student learning and to teaching practice.

It sees students as partners in assessment practices and invites them to take more control of their own learning practices. It is based on a recasting and rethinking about the role of the student in self-regulated learning and particularly in their understanding of the generation and use of feedback.

The initiative will explore students’ regulation of their own learning using the DELTA Framework: assessment of/for/as learning – as it employs a student-centred approach to feedback as a reference point. Specifically, this approach focuses on comparison processes of students’ current work products such as written drafts, presentations, or other deliverables, and that of peers and/or lecturer generated comparison products.

Traditionally, input from lecturers has been privileged as the most important form of feedback for student learning. This project focuses on designing comparison processes that increase and enhance the generation of inner feedback [i.e. the new knowledge that students generate when they compare their current knowledge (or competence) against some reference information, Nicol, 2019]. Supported by the work of Professor David Nicol, the instructional design focuses on comparison processes used in a reflective manner to help students self-generate formative feedback and in a way that places students at the heart of this central learning process.