Immediate Feedback

More educators than ever are being required to teach their students in a virtual learning environment, it's likely that elements of online learning will continue to be present even as we transition back to the classroom.

Immediate feedback may be a key component to delivering better learning outcomes for students in an e-learning environment.


What is immediate feedback?

Immediate feedback is information provided to the student at the time of learning, that helps to improve understanding. It may correct or reinforce knowledge or address misconceptions. Students typically provide input about a topic and immediate feedback is given to aid cognition and help learners stay on track.

It’s a crucial ingredient in turning passive learning into an active reinforcement of knowledge and skills. And it ensures students don’t waste precious study time, while prompting enquiry, self-adjustment, and ownership in the material they’re absorbing.

That’s the power of immediate feedback.


Not all feedback is equal

Feedback for feedback’s sake, however, has no measurable benefit to learning outcomes. And feedback that’s only critical, or corrective, can have a detrimental impact on learning and can cause students to disengage.

In the research synthesis paper, The Power of Feedback, authors Helen Timperley and John Hattie reviewed and synthesised data from more than 7000 studies. They found that, for feedback to be effective, it needed to be:

Immediate -Feedback

  • Immediate feedback, over delayed feedback; giving students a better sense of the material they’re absorbing
  • Specific and targeted, addressing the learner’s advancement towards a goal
  • Relevant and encouraging, with constructive advice and feedback that prompts deeper enquiry and self-adjustment
  • Involving of students, with access to performance results and progress, so that students can form an awareness of how they learn 
  • Well-timed and instructional, delivering constructive feedback at exactly the point students need it, so that it doesn’t distract from learning1

A range of studies reviewed in Carol Evans’ research paper Making Sense of Assessment Feedback in Higher Education also suggested that feedback had more impact when teachers and students were equally engaged in the feedback process.2

These findings are backed up by lecturer Annabelle Minter Brooke from La Trobe University.

In my experience, regular feedback in the elearning context has the additional benefit of fostering the students' sense of connection to the subject and to me as the lecturer.”


A highly iterative process

Immediate feedback turns learning into an organic and iterative process, with users at its core.

With immediate feedback, academic achievement becomes not just a final exam result - it’s a process felt by users during the entire e-learning experience, from entry to exit.

Instructors, students, institution staff, and anyone who uses e-learning technology in the classroom become important stakeholders in educational technology and their own user experience. They provide valuable feedback and actionable data that can be used to tweak, refine, and improve performance outcomes for everyone.


It takes student engagement to a new level

Interactive e-learning products like Revel and Lightbook are using immediate feedback to boost engagement and support learning outcomes.

Immediate -Feedback -quoteAuthor content can be blended with media and assessment in these products to test and reinforce learning as students are absorbing the subject matter. A range of immediate feedback features and supporting tools are possible, including:

  • Interactives, mixing visual and informational cues
  • Short quizzes at regular intervals, testing students on key concepts as they learn
  • Writing tools, where instructors can assign integrated writing tasks at different intervals and students are prompted to write, express, and share their thoughts as they learn
  • Educator dashboards for monitoring class assignment completion, test results, and individual student achievement

Immediate feedback gets to the heart of the effectiveness of elearning: setting up the best conditions so that instructors can teach, students can learn, and institutions can deliver optimum learning outcomes, while staying relevant to digital natives.


Want to learn more?

Talk to your Education Consultant to find out how we’re using immediate feedback to help your students achieve better learning outcomes.


1 John Hattie and Helen Timperley, “The Power of Feedback”, Review of Educational Research (March 2007), Vol. 77, No. 1, pp. 81–112, doi: 10.3102/003465430298487, University of Auckland.

2 Carol Evans, “Making Sense of Assessment Feedback in Higher Education”, Review of Educational Research (March 2013), Vol. 83, No. 1, pp. 70–120, doi: 10.3102/0034654312474350, University of Exeter and Institute of Education, London

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