Towards faster feedback in higher education through digitally mediated dialogic loops

Keywords: feedback, reflection, reflective writing analytics, learning analytics, socio-technical design

Abstract

How feedback is understood and enacted has shifted from the traditional practice of providing individual feedback on summative tasks at key points to a more ongoing series of dialogues between the teacher and students during the teaching period. This paper reports on the experiences of designing faster feedback through weekly dialogic feedback loops to enhance students’ personal connection to their learning while providing teachers with faster, actionable feedback data to inform learning design. A pragmatic inquiry considered how benefits might potentially be amplified through the use of digital technologies. Data included student reflections collected via the GoingOK web application, interviews and focus groups. The findings identify and theorise four types of digitally mediated feedback loops: students in computer-mediated dialogue with themselves; students and teachers in dialogue with each other; the reflection on how feedback informed learning; and the sociotechnical dialogue informing ongoing technical design. Three design dilemmas that were experienced by teachers as they enacted digitally mediated dialogic feedback loops are articulated, alongside the principles that enabled responsive design. Understanding these design elements is fundamental if automation of some parts of the feedback loop through reflective writing analytics is to be considered both feasible and desirable.

Implications for practice or policy:

  • Digitally mediated feedback loops can facilitate faster feedback, enabling students to reflect on their learning and providing teachers with access to new insights about diverse learners.
  • Feedback technology can challenge existing ideas about feedback.
  • Faster feedback can save teachers time, but efficiencies are likely to depend on an increased human workload in the short term as automation technologies can be slower to develop.
  • Sociotechnical innovation requires collective dialogue between educators and digital developers, across asynchronous timelines.

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Published
2021-01-01
How to Cite
Willis, J., Gibson, A., Kelly, N., Spina, N., Azordegan, J., & Crosswell, L. (2021). Towards faster feedback in higher education through digitally mediated dialogic loops. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 37(3), 22-37. https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.5977