Throughout my eLearning Feedback series, we’ve looked at the significance of relevant, relational feedback and how instructors can enhance their feedback by providing it to their learners through various audio and video tools. In the conclusion of this series, we’ll explore the value of learner-to-learner feedback and how you can create opportunities for students to provide relevant, relational feedback to each other.
Value of Learner-to-Learner Feedback
You may be wondering, “Why do students need feedback from their peers? Isn’t feedback from their instructor enough?”
According to founder of eLearning Industry’s Network, Christopher Pappas, (2015), learner-to-learner feedback allows students to receive feedback from fellow students who are in the same boat, providing “a more ‘casual’ perspective,” which “can be very effective in retaining information.” For the student, receiving feedback from a classmate is like having a friendly face in the crowd when you’re nervous about performing or speaking. It makes receiving and retaining the feedback a little easier—it comes from someone you can relate to since you’re both working on the same assignment.
Learner-to-Learner feedback also provides students with an opportunity to practice receiving and implementing feedback, as well as provide relevant, relational, constructive feedback. Michael Higley (2018), the Director of Assessment and Data at a Florida charter school, observes that learner-to-learner feedback “facilitates two-way learning; once when the learner participates in the assessment and, again, when the learner provides peer feedback.” Students are more likely to retain and implement feedback from their classmates, and in turn, be “better prepared for real-world situations” in which they will have to give or receive feedback (Higley 2018).
I’ve had several opportunities to participate in or implement learner-to-learner feedback, both as a student and an instructor.
My Experience with Learner-to-Learner Feedback
Higley (2018) notes that “Requiring learners to provide significantly relevant learner-to-learner feedback increases their own self-reflective skills and knowledge.” I began to understand the value of learner-to-learner feedback when one of my undergraduate professors incorporated it in her speech and communication classes. For speeches and presentations, each student would have two to three peer evaluators in addition to our professor. Before class, each student received evaluation forms for the presenters we’d be evaluating that day. While our professor wrote her evaluation notes, we filled out similar notes on the forms. At the end of class, our professor gave us her feedback notes and our classmates’ evaluation forms.
My classmates’ feedback often agreed with my professor’s feedback. Sometimes my classmates observed areas of strength or improvement that my professor didn’t mention. In both instances, I found the additional feedback from my peers to be insightful and used it to help me improve my future speeches and presentations.
Another way I’ve participated in learner-to-learner feedback is through the Discussion Board. In some of my online graduate classes, my professors divided the class into smaller groups to watch each other’s presentations. Once we had watched each presentation, we were assigned to provide each person with feedback using criteria provided by our professor.
In the online speech class that I teach, I added a similar feedback experience for my students. Each week, the students give feedback on two of their classmates’ speeches using an interactive rubric. Once my students got the hang of using the rubric, they provided each other with relevant, relational feedback, which they used to improve their future speeches.
Learner-to-Learner Feedback Opportunities
Higley (2018) encourages instructors to “provide learners with clear feedback expectations.” In my experiences as student and an adjunct instructor, I’ve found that rubrics are an easy, organized way to help students give each other feedback. Higley (2018) also recognized that rubrics not only “help guide peer feedback by providing necessary assignment or course expectations,” they also “encourage learners to be honest and constructive in the feedback they deliver to one another.” Stay tuned for my next post on how to create effective rubrics.
If you’re using a learning management system like Blackboard or Canvas, you can use a built-in tool for peer review/assessment. Canvas’ tool is called Peer Review, while Blackboard offers a Self and Peer Assessment tool.
Regardless of which method or tool you use, allowing your students to provide each other with feedback is an invaluable experience that benefits to your students both in and outside of your class.
So, what are some ways you create opportunities for your students to give each other relevant, relational feedback? Or, if you’re a student, are there activities you’ve done in class that have resulted in particularly good (or bad) feedback from your peers?
Higley, M. (2018, January 27). Reasons why collaborative online learning activities are effective.
Pappas, C. (2015, September 16). 6 ways to give constructive feedback in eLearning.