With Age and Experience Comes an Appreciation of the Value of Feedback for Learning
Learning Support Network, Curtin University of Technology
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science
Feedback is recognised as important to learning but research shows that most university students are dissatisfied with the feedback they receive. Large classes challenge teachers to provide useful and timely feedback to students on their assessment tasks, and on-line technologies offer possible strategies. This paper reports on a study to explore perceptions of feedback with a large and diverse group of undergraduate students studying Human Biology in three Western Australian universities. Results showed that age and experience of learning influenced the way in which students valued and used the feedback they received. Students with previous experience of learning were more likely to see feedback as being useful in more ways to their learning. Younger students saw fewer benefits of feedback. Older students with previous experience of learning saw the value the feedback they received for more aspects of their learning, and used it in more constructive ways to improve learning outcomes. This study suggests that students should be given more opportunities at an earlier stage of their studies to learn to recognise, experience and reflect on feedback, and build skills in using feedback constructively. The authors of this paper propose strategies to implement this support in large first year classes using on-line assessment.