3.7 Transcending Modularity through Flexible Formative Feedback

3.7 Hallam L&T Conference Session 3-7 – Oli Johnson

What is the role of feedback in promoting learning across modules and how can feedback be embedded more effectively into the student journey? The HEA-funded Flexible Formative Feedback Project is led by a team of Student Ambassadors for Learning and Teaching (SALT)—a nationally-recognised student-staff partnership scheme in which teams of students design and lead on learning and teaching enhancement activities. Working in collaboration with students and staff in a cross-section of ten departments, the project team are constructing a feedback profile of existing practice and mapping student experiences onto the feedback environments of their disciplinary areas. Data will be used to identify case studies of best practice and to inform the development of discipline-specific tools for the provision, collation and use of feedback that is both flexible—i.e. adaptable to disciplinary and individual student needs—and formative—i.e. action-oriented and developmental.

As a longitudinal study, the project will revisit students over the course of the academic year to find out the extent to which their expectations have been met by the feedback process. Although data collection is ongoing, our initial consultation has identified a ‘feedback gap’ between student expectations and experiences, the fault lines of which appear early at level one. This paper, which will be presented by a staff-student team, will share the initial findings of the project and explore strategies to narrow this gap including the development of study skills training packages and feedback collation tools. It will consider the underdeveloped role of feedback as a synoptic learning tool with the potential to transcend the modular nature of assessment as part of a broader transition to self-regulated learning. It will conclude with a reflection on the implications of this process for the future-proofing of feedback in the context of rapid technological development and the changing university environment.