Article Summary: Schaeffer et al. (2016) Feedback via Educational Technology

Motivation: To summarize research that examines providing feedback to students through educational technology and to identify factors that impact its efficacy.

Characteristics of Feedback that Affect Efficacy:

  1. The most effective type of feedback in general is feedback that explains why an answer is correct or incorrect. If you cannot provide that level of detail, feedback should at least say what the correct answer is rather than only whether the student is right or wrong.
  2. Feedback is most effective when it’s given throughout a learning task rather than at the end of it, but giving feedback too often can also hurt learning.
  3. When students are new to a task or working on a particularly hard task, giving feedback through a human avatar can hinder their performance (due to the social facilitation effect).

Characteristics of Learners that Affect Efficacy

  1. Students need to self-assess their learning to effectively use feedback.
  2. Providing feedback to help students improve faster, but not learn better, can hurt their performance in the long run.
  3. Low-ability learners need more structure from the learning environment to do well.
  4. If students have lower levels of prior knowledge, they benefit more from feedback that explains why an answer is correct or incorrect.

Characteristics of Tasks that Affect Efficacy

  1. Immediate, computer-based feedback on rote tasks is better than delayed, instructor-based feedback.
  2. For tasks that are not rote, instructor-based feedback, even if it comes at a delay, is usually better because it includes more information about why an answer is correct or incorrect.
  3. More extensive feedback that includes additional information about the concept is more effective when that concept is simple than when it is complex.
  4. For complex tasks, extensive feedback can overload students’ cognitive resources; therefore, feedback should be as minimal as possible while still providing information.

Why this is important: This chapter complies the latest research on techniques for providing feedback via educational technology across a large range of domains to determine which factors are important to making feedback effective. It provides principles to follow for those who want to include feedback in their instructional systems.

Click here for a copy of the chapter.

Schaeffer, L. M., Margulieux, L. E., Chen, D., & Catrambone, R. (2016). Feedback via Educational Technology. In L. Lin & R. Atkinson (Eds.), Educational Technologies: Challenges, Applications, and Learning Outcomes. (Education in a Competitive and Globalizing World, pp. 59-72). New York, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

For more information about the article summary series or more article summary posts, visit the article summary series introduction.

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One thought on “Article Summary: Schaeffer et al. (2016) Feedback via Educational Technology

  1. Pingback: Article Summary: Series Introduction | Lauren Margulieux

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