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Give your learners useful feedback

When learners make a mistake, they are usually curious to find out what went wrong and why their choice was incorrect. Take advantage of this curiosity when designing your e-learning courses. Use the questions in your e-learning courses not just to assess learners but also to provide them with feedback and help them understand the significance of the content.

Kasper Spiro
learner feedback

Providing Meaningful Feedback

Effective feedback directs the learner’s attention to the lesson they need to learn. It points out strengths and offers specific information to improve learner performance. Here are some proven best practices for giving useful feedback:

Rationalize the Feedback

When giving feedback to a learner’s answers to a quiz, don’t just indicate what is right and what is wrong. Explain why each answer was wrong or right. Give learners the information they need to correct their mistakes or improve further.

Give Immediate Feedback

When learners make a mistake, that is the point of reflection: the moment at which they will be most willing to receive feedback, reflect on their actions, and find out what they still need to learn. There’s no need to stockpile feedback until the end of the course or module. We recommend offering feedback throughout the entire course, so learners can connect it with their existing knowledge and immediately refer to the related content to enhance their comprehension.

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Extend Your Feedback and Link it to Resources

If learners respond incorrectly to test questions or activities, you can simply redirect them to the relevant parts of the e-learning module. This encourages them to engage with conceptual knowledge and gain the desired skills. To facilitate learning, allow users to retry the question after they’ve read the feedback.

Show the Real-World Implications

Always create activities that mirror real-world situations learners are likely to encounter. The same applies when giving feedback and showing learners how their choices/decisions (i.e. actions) lead to certain consequences. This simulated reality allows people to learn from their mistakes and effectively reinforces change.

Ask Learners for Their Feedback

Feedback is a two-way medium and a means for learners to interact with course authors. To facilitate this interaction, provide an opportunity for learners to voice their own questions, thoughts, comments or feedback.

Go Beyond “Good Job!”

Just saying “good job” puts too much emphasis on the end result rather than the process. It doesn’t give the kind of constructive, qualitative feedback learners need to improve. Positive feedback should indicate the learner’s progress, reinforce key concepts and connect the dots between the overall goal and the learner’s current level of knowledge. A quick note of affirmation is fine, but let’s look at a few examples of how to get even more out of positive feedback:

  • You’re on the right track now and have enough expertise on XYZ topic.
  • You’re really working hard today! You just made the right choices to resolve the XYZ situation.
  • Things are looking good. By choosing option A, you could emphasize the importance of XYZ for resolving ABC.
  • Impressive memory! It helps to remember the fundamental specs of XYZ because we never know when the situation arises with this component.

Check out our feedback training template.

Read the next article as part of the e-learning best practices blog series:  “Gather learner input with the Easygenerator NPS feature

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About the author

Kasper Spiro is the Co-founder and Chief learning strategist of Easygenerator and a recognized thought leader in the world of e-learning. With over 30 years of experience, he is a frequently asked keynote speaker and well-renowned blogger within the e-learning community.