Learning, feedback, validation

Researchers say feedback should be timely in order to maximize effectiveness ((Research-Based Strategies: Providing Feedback)). Animal trainers understand this – clickers and treats are shared as close as possible to desired behavior. Software developers get it too; agile developers build, test & deploy in quick iterative cycles to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

As a student blogging my own learning experiences, I was reminded of the importance of feedback as validation this week through the very kind words of others around the interwebs. What’s triggering my Pavlovian response this week?

As a student, this external validation compliments internal motivation to continue learning. It also provides incentive to redesign my blog, since people might actually visit.

As a teacher, the past week’s article references suggest that I reflect on my own role as an assessor and agent of feedback. I’m sometimes slow to offer feedback, especially with multi-media projects. I pose questions and offer suggestions through-out the build process but don’t  assess final products in a reasonable amount of time. I can start today by recognizing each student contribution face-to-face.

If I impose any kind of deadline on a project, then the least I can do is give myself a deadline to return comments. Students learn through all senses – If I hope to influence student behavior, I must start by modeling positive habits.


2 thoughts on “Learning, feedback, validation

  1. Jac,

    Congratulations on all the accolades. Well deserved as your website did, indeed, spur my interest in flipping and videocasting.

    I try to employ the influence of positive feedback as often as possible with my chemistry students, my baseball team, and the colleagues with whom I work. When we intimidate and scold, the reptilian brain kicks in and learning ceases to exist. fMRI studies actually show reduced blood flow in the cerebral cortex when stressful, fearful, or anxiety provoking environments prevail. As teachers, we should work hard to create safe spaces that encourage “fear free” risk taking and exploration.

    Keep up the excellent work, Jac!

    1. Hi Bill,

      Thanks for the kind words and for the neurological explanation of +/- feedback. Stay positive and learn on…


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