Good feedback is a fundamental aspect of effective learning. Without it, students are left to wander their learning paths aimlessly with no direction, eventually stumbling off task in search of a more stimulating experience. Good feedback should be regular, clear, precise, and positive, urging students to advance towards the specified learning goals with continuous effort, encouraging both personal and academic growth. Despite its necessity, the feedback process is often a very demanding, time-consuming task for educators struggling to meet state, school, and student demands. Learning platforms like Fishtree have since made efforts to alleviate the stress of offering consistent feedback, through the combination of analytics and instant messaging features. But why is it important to focus on providing students with better feedback?

1. Promotes Self-Assessment and Reflection

As educators, we are often asked to allow for reflection after each lesson, engaging in self-assessment to analyze what aspects worked best, and what may require further attention. Similarly, through effective feedback, students are encouraged to assess their performance and evaluate how and where to make improvements.

2. Informs About Progress

When students are better informed about their progress, they can zone in on areas that need more attention, further highlighting their strengths and weaknesses. With clearer direction, students gain more confidence heading towards their goals. With Fishtree, students embark on personalized learning paths with regular performance updates to keep them on task, and motivated.

3. Helps Students Understand What Constitutes “Good Performance”

It’s often difficult for students to understand what is meant by the term “good performance” and how to achieve this status. Effective feedback offers an explanation as to what defines “good”, and how to work towards achieving this. Fishtree keeps students clued in at all times by highlighting the areas that need further attention, while offering educators an instant messaging service to provide more substantial feedback.

4. Encourages Peer and Teacher Collaboration

Collaboration is an essential factor in the learning process. With peers and teacher working together towards common goals, students are encouraged to work with others and to learn from one another through constructive feedback. With Fishtree, productive collaboration is easily scaled through an instant messaging service, and a social media-based feature that encourages students to share resources, offer peer feedback, and ask for help when needed. Fishtree also highlights the importance of feedback in context, linking student messaging to the exact area of an assignment that proves challenging.

5. Translates Learning Objectives More Clearly

A common factor that often hinders effective learning is the misinterpretation of learning objectives, an issue regularly undiagnosed due to student reluctance to speak up. If a student is confused by the specified learning goals, all communication is lost, and the student heads towards a dead end. Good feedback ensures students remain on target and fully understand what is being asked of them. Instant messaging further aids those with difficulty speaking out in class. With a better understanding of learning objectives, students can build on feedback to construct individualized paths to mastery.

It’s good news for educators struggling with the feedback process, with technology offering solutions to save time, while significantly enhancing its effectiveness. With the ability to communicate with students and peers in real-time, students are never left to wander aimlessly along their respective learning paths. Instead, they’re offered regular performance updates, substantial feedback from both teacher and peers, and a better understanding of how to reach their goals. Good feedback gives students the confidence and motivation to overcome their challenges and strive for success. Educators are at the same time afforded real-time views of student progress, with precise indications of who requires support, and with which objectives. With this technology at your disposal, there’s no excuse to keep students in the dark. Give better feedback, get better learners.

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About the author:


Lorna Keane is a teacher of French, English and ESL. She specializes in language teaching and has taught in second and third-level institutions in several countries. She holds a B.A in languages and cultural studies and an M.A in French literature, theory and visual culture. Follow her on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

Image credits: Brad Flickinger / CC BY 2.0