4 Ways Formative Feedback Can Improve the Learning Experience for Students

Written by Pavlo Tull.

When students return to class after the break, they expect the same old things; lectures, readings, homework, essays, etc. As the semester carries on, it can start to become overwhelming especially when you consider that many students have jobs and extra-curricular activities in addition to their studies.

All these outside factors can affect their performance in the classroom. There are so many things that vie for their attention that it can be easy for a student to fall behind on classwork. With hundreds of students to keep track of, instructors may not know when a learner is at-risk unless someone brings it to their attention. So how can this information be communicated to the instructor in a timely manner that allows for early intervention?

Of course, there’s always the option for students to speak directly to their instructor during office hours, but that can be difficult to work out with busy schedules and everything else that’s going on in their lives. Students can also have anxieties about speaking face-to-face with their instructor about difficulties they are having in the classroom.

This is where a formative feedback process can be beneficial, as it gives students and instructors the ability to connect on an ongoing basis throughout the course. One way to facilitate this process is through Bluepulse - a powerful tool that both teachers and learners can use for two-way communication inside and outside the classroom. Here’s how Bluepulse can improve the learning experience and help drive student success.

  1. Feedback when it matters:

    Bluepulse allows students to communicate with their instructors at the moment they encounter difficulties in the classroom. For example, they can give input during or after a lesson about what course material or delivery. Through the Bluepulse app (iOS and Android) they can even provide feedback or ask questions outside regular classroom hours. This then gives instructors important feedback data they can use to personalize their instructional methods to better fit their students’ learning needs. It also puts the power of learning in the hands of students and can promote a positive classroom experience.

    Read how the University of Mary Washington uses Bluepulse to enhance the student experience from the first day of class

  2. Higher engagement:

    With a formative feedback tool in the classroom, students are engaged at every step of the learning experience. Being able to provide consistent feedback that is then used to shape their learning almost in real-time can be a grounding force. It can also shift how students perceive the feedback process and lead to higher response rates and better quality data in end-of-term evaluations.

  3. More motivation in the classroom:

    Ongoing feedback in the classroom can lead to higher motivation and self-esteem in the learning environment, especially for those students who are shy. As more students provide feedback, it can also set the pace of their learning and ensure that any material that wasn’t understood the first time around is better explained. This means that no student is left behind and can be to the benefit of the entire class as it creates a level of interconnectedness.

  4. Shift in perspective:

    A formative feedback tool can help shift students’ focus away from grades, which can be an additional source of stress and anxiety for many. Yes, grades are an important part of a student’s journey through university, but the expectations placed on getting high grades can cause students to feel that it’s an impossible task. When the focus is shifted to improving the learning process to better suit students’ learning needs, their energy can be directed towards understanding the course material which will inevitably lead to better grades.

A formative feedback tool like Bluepulse can help achieve the four points mentioned above. Bluepulse makes it easy for instructors and students to communicate in the moment when it matters most. Aside from providing instant communication, the system also offers confidentiality when it is needed. Candid conversations can happen between students and instructors without any of the usual anxieties.

With a formative feedback process in place, the dynamic between students and instructors can change for the better. Instead of being passive participants in their learning, students begin to play an active role in the classroom. The formative feedback process gives students the opportunity to better understand themselves as learners as well as take control of their academic lives and the way they are taught.

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