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David McClean The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Project as Journey: Student as Orienteer The Role of Feedback in Learning HEA Enhancement Academy.

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Presentation on theme: "David McClean The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Project as Journey: Student as Orienteer The Role of Feedback in Learning HEA Enhancement Academy."— Presentation transcript:

1 David McClean The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Project as Journey: Student as Orienteer The Role of Feedback in Learning HEA Enhancement Academy Workshop Queen’s University, Belfast Monday, 13 September 2010

2 David McCleanThe Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen ‘ It is impossible to overstate the role of effective feedback on the students ’ progress in any discussion of effective teaching and assessment ’ (Ramsden, 1992)

3 David McCleanThe Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Contention Consideration of feedback mechanisms and processes is central the fundamental design of a project, or any component of learning. If assessment and feedback design are well considered and integrated into the learning process, learning is likely to be most effective. Learning represents a journey - plotting the feedback points is critical to project design and navigation towards ‘destination’ or intended outcome

4 David McCleanThe Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Route and Destination Learning Outcomes define purpose Project brief establishes broad path of journey and stage posts along way Learning involves navigation over a complex terrain that is new to the student – the map is vital To staff, the landscape is familiar – the map is known, tacit

5 David McCleanThe Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Key academic challenges in transition to Higher Education: Clarity of guidance + expectation New ways of working Assuming responsibility for own learning Workload / time management Feedback and understanding progress NB: There is a strong relationship between the first and last points (from longitudinal study of student perceptions at Aberdeen, )

6 David McCleanThe Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen What is fundamental purpose of learning? Is it the generation of product? or The development of process? (PSRB requirements arguably lean to the former as demonstration of competence) How do we equip students to define their own positions and journeys within new terrains, that their tutors may not have directly experienced? Are we as educators sufficiently self-aware of the impact of our own attitudes and approaches on the individual’s learning and ability to position themselves in their learning journey?

7 David McCleanThe Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Plotting the Path Articulation of route dependent on level of skill and independence of students How skilled or knowledgeable are students? How confident? What safety nets are required? Project introduction - first feedback opportunity Point of orientation and clarity Understanding of route, setting compass, confirming direction Nurturing of confidence Peer dialogue

8 David McCleanThe Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen (from longitudinal study of student perceptions at Aberdeen, )

9 David McCleanThe Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Some student comments on clarity of expectations “More personal focus and feedback; sometimes it is not clear what is expected of us” “More specific outlines and goals” “More detailed explanations for new projects in order for full understanding of what is required” “Unsure of what is required is some areas of projects” “It (support) should be more of a progression, you have to get challenged more as you go through...

10 David McCleanThe Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen The Compass Feedback is the mechanism by which: Direction is gauged Corrective action defined Forward trajectory is determined Feedback has a role for the following relationships: Student - Tutor Student - student Tutor - Tutor

11 David McCleanThe Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Student – Tutor Student perceptions of degree of academic challenge closely correspond to perceptions of effectiveness of feedback Feedback influences motivation and confidence levels Regularity Timeliness / speed of response Specificity Effective feedback is the engagement of the student in the learning process – student must Actively contribute to feedback / feed forward to continue journey

12 David McCleanThe Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Some student observations on feedback (or lack of) “It's difficult sometimes to motivate yourself because of a lack of direction and push from the tutors” “Sometimes, things are only explained properly once you have completed a task, so you have to do it again” “it would be better… especially since it’s our first year, if they took time to explain to us what we are doing wrong and if we are doing it right, because I can do a whole half folio for the year completely wrong and not know about it” “what personal feedback gives you, that gives you more confidence because you are one-on-one, it isn’t a confrontational situation between two people, like one person and a group, you know, it’s getting the balance…”

13 David McCleanThe Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen (from longitudinal study of student perceptions at Aberdeen, )

14 David McCleanThe Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Student - Student Peer support – forum for discussion, Comparison, etc Construction of interactive support mechanism Diminution of ‘power asymmetries’ Tutor – Tutor Need for staff interaction to evaluate progress, compare experience and opinion – critical to ensuring consistency of feedback ‘Keeping the party together’

15 David McCleanThe Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Some student observations on peer support “There is a certain amount of shoulder checking. You can always check to see what everyone else is up to, then you kind of go forward from there” “They (peers) can explain it to you, because they (peers) are on the same level” “You are not really sure what you are supposed to be doing until a few other people have started and they say “this is what we think is happening”, so everybody does that” “The way I think of it is, if that’s the way everyone else is doing it, they (the tutors) can’t really tell me specifically that I’m wrong”

16 David McCleanThe Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen (from longitudinal study of student perceptions at Aberdeen, )

17 David McCleanThe Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Navigating the Path The nature of guidance: Too generic, and student has to work very hard to apply to context, risking disengagement Too directive / prescriptive, and student tends to follow in uncritical / unquestioning way, or dismiss guidance in reactionary way

18 David McCleanThe Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle

19 David McCleanThe Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen “Give feedback more regularly to give yourself targets to meet. If you don't know how you are doing this cannot be achieved” “What's expected from us should be clearly expressed at the beginning not at the end of the projects” (from longitudinal study of student perceptions at Aberdeen, )

20 David McCleanThe Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Summary Consider level and capability of students Consider and explicitly articulate purpose of project / exercise Consider feedback journey throughout duration of project, and communicate these as a key part of the learning process (destination and journey) Identify critical phases of the project to determine appropriate feedback and consultation measures (staff or peer led) Tutors to consider the facilitation and monitoring of the development of the individual learner in determining their own learning journey (decision-making processes)

21 David McCleanThe Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Thank You


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