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TFA! Executive Summary

Page history last edited by Stuart Hepplestone 11 years, 6 months ago

Executive Summary


Sheffield Hallam University explored the potential of technology-enabled feedback to improve student learning. This project aimed to evaluate how a range of technical interventions might encourage students to engage with feedback and formulate actions to improve future learning.


The research project began with a detailed desk-based review of current literature regarding good feedback practice, with specific regard to the application of technology to support both delivery and use of feedback. This literature review has been published and is available for comments and contributions from across the sector.


The study used qualitative methods and worked in partnership with 23 undergraduate students to explore their experiences of receiving different forms of feedback with varying degrees of technical intervention including, but not limited to, electronic feedback with marks withheld, online grade publication, criteria-based feedback and zero-technical intervention. Through a series of unstructured interviews student participants were encouraged to articulate their experiences of feedback.


The online publication of grades and feedback and the adaptive release of grades were found to significantly enhance students' engagement with their feedback. Often, logistical benefits such as online storage of feedback, led to greater learning benefits such as repeated viewing of feedback. Linking feedback to assessment criteria, while effective in enabling students to identify strengths and weaknesses at a glance and helping to identify learning targets, was less effective in terms of enhancing engagement with feedback. This approach does have limitations and there was a competing preference for 'in context’ feedback suggesting that a mixed model would provide the most comprehensive feedback.


The study identified a series of recommendations around the use of technology to enhance student engagement with their feedback. These evidence-based recommendations will be published as a series of good practice guides aimed at academic staff, students and senior managers. We believe that technology has the potential to significantly enhance learning. These guides will show how technology can be used to its full advantage to help students make the most of their feedback.


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