Why Specific Feedback Is So Important

Why Specific Feedback Is So Important

Whether they’re playing video games or managing a multi-million dollar company, people use feedback to learn what works in business and in life. The successful ones leverage this information to drive their decisions, motivate themselves and others, and improve on a daily basis. Students consistently receive feedback throughout their education, so it’s important for them to benefit as much as they can from this information early on. Arguably the best way to ensure learners get the most of out of feedback is to make it as specific as possible.

Guides Them Towards The Learning Outcome

Most instructors assign projects, papers, and other activities to help students reach a desired learning outcome. But to really engage students and motivate them to improve, it’s important to correlate the learning objective with individual development rather than higher grades. When educators invest in student progress as opposed to the results of an evaluation, it often has a positive effect on their willingness to learn and overall achievement.

Once instructors establish a more developmental approach in the classroom, they can start setting goals for each assignment. These goals help educators give specific feedback to students based on their progression and areas that still need improvement.

Provides Insight Into Strengths And Weaknesses

Specific feedback helps students improve by addressing their strengths and weaknesses directly. Rather than saying someone made a good introduction during their presentation, instructors should opt for more detailed feedback, such as “You really drew me in with your hook about unemployment rates in Chicago. Great job using specific examples to illustrate your point.” This specific feedback gives students an idea about what engages an audience and that using specific examples in future presentations is an effective tool.

The same strategies work for providing constructive criticism as well. When educators want to highlight weaknesses in a student’s presentation, it’s much more effective to be as descriptive as possible. For example, if an instructor says “Poor conclusion, consider revising,” this statement doesn’t reveal any specific thing students can improve on. Students would gain much more from specific feedback like “You did such a great job explaining the past and present job market in Chicago throughout your presentation, but your conclusion ended rather abruptly. How are government officials combating the problem? What measures are in place to encourage future growth in the job market?” This kind of feedback points students in the right direction, but also encourages critical thinking so they develop the answers on their own.

Curbs Negative Responses

Non-descriptive feedback usually has a detrimental impact on learners because they must infer what an educator means and adjust their work based on a guess. This process usually has an adverse effect, so students either don’t make the necessary changes or half-heartedly revise their assignment.

Since students often associate feedback with criticism, it’s important to make feedback as specific as possible to curb their negative feelings towards the review process. When instructors ask questions, point to specific examples, and invest in development over results, students usually reciprocate those actions with effort.

Instructors can usually add specific feedback to written work pretty easily, but reviewing speeches and video presentations — especially online — is much more difficult. YouSeeU enables instructors to deliver time-stamped feedback and set up peer review sessions for their students within the Video Assignments platform. To learn more about how our video-based software facilitates feedback and peer review, visit YouSeeU’s website.

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