Feedback is present throughout learner-centred pedagogy. It is more than what educators commonly think about when feedback is given in response to assessment. Feedback, in this broader sense, describes learning as an active state in which feedback is pervasive with every decision, action and conversation challenging the learner to review what they know.
Feedback develops not only what a student knows about their subject, but also what they know about themselves and their capabilities. In this way it contributes to the formation of a student’s sense of being, belonging and becoming. Knowing how deeply and fluently you know something affects your identity as a becoming practitioner.
While this idea of feedback appears to be osmotic, students also need to be given and made aware of appropriate feedback on their performance so that they are clear about what they are doing well and how they can improve. In getting started, students need help in assessing, or diagnosing, their existing knowledge.
Feedback should always be thought of, ultimately, as being formative. Both personal and generic feedback, whether formal or informal in nature, is key to students reflecting on the own capabilities and knowledge. Without feedback it is difficult for a student to know how to improve the way they engage in their learning. In classe students need frequent opportunities to perform and receive suggestions for improvement therefore.
See the Feedback Toolkit for more on designing good feedback