Assessment of learning is a communicative process. Learners create materials that are viewed, read or experienced by educators, who, in response, exercise judgement, provide advice and offer guidance. Ideally, learners respond, and we encounter improvement and development. We call this the ‘feedback loop’: a crucial part of the learning process.
Evidence on feedback confirms it is a complex challenge, with no ‘magic bullet’ solutions. Quantity, quality and effectiveness of feedback is shaped by personal, disciplinary, diversity and scale factors; also by institutional policies and procedures. Patterns of feedback practice evolve over time and have histories.
There is a strong evidence base in relation to effective feedback (http://newmediaresearch.educ.monash.edu.au/feedback/). But there are many steps between evidence, implementation and institutional change. This initiative aims to address feedback processes at IT Sligo, to systematically identify best practice and principles. In parallel, it explores a technology-based solution with the potential to scale-up best practice learner-centred feedback. It will also develop the capacity of the institute to evaluate educational technology solutions and services.
The initiative has four work packages:
• WP1: Survey to identify best practices in feedback from learner and staff perspectives, replicating the Melbourne Universities’ ‘Feedback for learning’ survey [http://newmediaresearch.educ.monash.edu.au/feedback/wp-content/uploads/Feedback_for_Learning_Survey.pdf].
• WP2: Development and documentation of a number of case studies based on the survey findings and presentation of these at staff workshops.
• WP3: Trial of a commercially available feedback support package with a select cohort of staff.
• WP4: Development of a robust and transferable evaluative framework to assess the value and impact of the selected package.