The importance of feedback is hard to overestimate. When feedback is constructive and practical, it can help motivate and encourage personal and professional development and plays a significant role in education and learning by assisting students in adopting new knowledge sooner and avoiding repetitive mistakes.
So as you begin engaging in your course material and submitting assignments, you should welcome feedback, whether it’s from a teacher or other students.
In its most basic form, feedback helps you study by explaining, what you are doing well, what you need to develop, and how to improve moving forward.
So, how can you make the most of feedback?
First, make sure you understand the feedback.
The first element of feedback is that you understand it. For example, you may have used the first-person point of view in your writing but need to be writing with a third-person point of view. Or you may have used language inappropriate for a scientific report or literature review. No matter what the feedback is, you must understand what it means for you. Often your tutor or lecturer will be pretty happy to explain what they meant if you don’t understand it.
Once you understand where you went wrong or what you could do better, you can ensure you don’t make the same mistake next time – this could be as simple as reading the assignment thoroughly, breaking down the question/s and highlighting the key criteria you need to meet.
Being able to understand the marking criteria is another important area. The assignment may state what you need to do. However, the marking standards set out how you need to go about it.
Listen and ask questions to understand how you can improve.
How can you best explore the feedback that you receive before you take action on it? ASK QUESTIONS! Doing so will help you to understand what needs to change in your work. While listening to the feedback, try to summarise the problems identified and ask as many questions as you need to explain the specifics. Once you better understand the feedback, come up with a plan for doing it, decide how you’re going to improve and write out the steps you need to take.
Explore how you could change your approach next time.
Identify specific areas that you need to address for your next assignment.
• How can I improve my assignment presentation?
• Am I showing sufficient evidence? Adequate analysis?
• Is my assignment or presentation understandable for my reader?
• Did I provide too much or too little information?
Keep a record of the comments you receive for various assignments – are there common issues you need to address in your writing? And don’t forget to note any positive comments made by your marker: it’s helpful to know your strengths and build upon them.
And remember, don’t take feedback personally!
We cannot stress this enough – feedback is not a personal judgment. Your teachers’ end goal is to suggest tangible ways to improve your learning and understanding of the course and only want to see you get the best results.