Does pre-feedback self reflection improve student engagement, learning outcomes and tutor facilitation of group feedback sessions?

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Conference Proceeding
Engineering Education 2010: Inspiring the Next Generation of Engineers, EE 2010, 2010
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The authors have previously reported the effectiveness of using self and peer assessment to improve learning outcomes by providing opportunities to practise, assess and provide feedback on students' learning and development. Despite this work and the research of others, we observed some students felt they had nothing to learn from feedback sessions. Hence they missed the opportunity for reflection and to receive feedback to complete the learning cycle. This behaviour suggested that students needed more guidance to facilitate deeper engagement. We hypothesised that student engagement would increase if they were provided with guiding 'feedback catalyst questions' to initiate reflection and facilitate effective feedback on learning outcomes. In this paper we report testing whether this approach assisted students to gain more benefit from the self and peer assessment feedback sessions. In our investigation both students and tutors were asked to evaluate the effectiveness of the feedback catalyst questions in improving student engagement and learning. We found that the pre-feedback self reflection exercise improved learning outcomes and student engagement with more than 80% of students reporting multiple benefits. Furthermore tutors reported that the exercise assisted them to facilitate their sessions. However, not surprisingly the degree of success was related in part to the attitude of the tutor to the exercise. This suggests that while the feedback catalyst questions were extremely effective there is no substitute for enthusiastic and engaging tutorial staff. © 2010 Gardner & Willey.
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