Feedback is an integral part of any educational experience, including elearning. It can make a powerful contribution to the success of a single course or a set of modules. When implemented well, feedback provides deep understanding of a subject and allows learners to get the most out of the elearning. In this post I’ll explain some techniques to increase the effectiveness of feedback in elearning.
1. Be Constructive
Perhaps the most important aspect of any feedback is that it’s constructive. It has to do more than congratulate a learner if they answered correctly or offer commiserations if they got it wrong. Feedback must explain to the learner why they were right or wrong. If they guessed the correct answer, constructive feedback can add to their knowledge. If they answered incorrectly, constructive feedback helps them understand how to go about fixing things. In all cases, constructive feedback in elearning helps learners stop and reflect on the answer they gave.
2. Be Timely
An elearning course can contain a variety of opportunities for feedback. Providing it as soon as possible makes it easier for learners to identify areas in which they need to improve. If there is an assessment at the end of the course it’s a good idea to provide feedback immediately after each question. Checkpoint questions at regular intervals are also a great opportunity to offer instant feedback. They provide the learner with the chance to test their knowledge at different stages of the course before moving on.
3. Be Realistic
As well as assessments and checkpoint questions, scenarios are a really useful means of providing feedback in elearning. Scenarios get learners to apply their knowledge and make meaningful decisions. Relevant feedback then illustrates how their actions relate directly to the real world. Learners can see their mistakes and correct them in a safe, consequence-free environment. This gives them the confidence that they are picking up skills and moving forward.
4. Be Consistent
Course objectives and goals are crucial to any elearning course. All feedback given in a course should tie in with these objectives. Learners need to be clear how the knowledge or skills they gain through taking a course will benefit them. Feedback in elearning should play a big part in emphasising what those benefits are.
5. Be Motivational
Feedback needs to motivate learners. For those who are successful, feedback must be appreciative of the effort they have put in to complete the course. The wording of the feedback is important, but so is the tone. Contrast ‘You scored 5 out of 5. You have passed this course.’ with ‘Congratulations – you scored top marks. Well done!’ It’s clear which is more rewarding. For those who have answered a question incorrectly or taken a wrong turn in a scenario, feedback must persuade them to try again. And again, the wording and tone are both as important. A motivational message, along with redirection to a relevant part of the course to brush up their skills, is key here.
6. Be Memorable
Making feedback in elearning memorable really aids the learning process. For scenarios, instead of telling learners the correct answer they should be shown the effects of a right or wrong answer. Learners could guide a character as they make a series of important decisions. They could even take on the role of the character themselves. They should then be shown the effect of their decision rather than simply being told they are correct or not.
Giving Great Feedback In Elearning
Always remember to give your learners valuable feedback as they navigate through your course. Feedback is a good thing – feel free to give me some on this post or any others! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about the brilliant elearning we create. Make sure you keep up with our Twitter feed too.