Improve The Feedback You Give To Your Learners

A Little Encouragement Goes A Long Way

It is no secret that providing helpful feedback can be the key to improving your learners' overall results when it comes to eLearning. According to research collated by Officevibe, 65% of employees prefer more feedback than less, and a huge 98% will fail to be engaged when they receive little or no feedback.

When designing assessments for eLearning modules, take the opportunity to provide feedback to your learners when they submit an answer to a question, whether their answer was correct or incorrect. As the statistics show, your learners want the opportunity to improve that comes from constructive feedback. On the flip side, statistics from Gallup show that feedback that recognizes employee effort is critical for engagement and satisfaction. Skipping or mishandling the way that you deliver your feedback is a huge lost opportunity to foster a workforce of enthusiastic learners.

So with this in mind, here are our 3 top tips for improving the feedback you give your learners.

1. Keep It Positive

It’s disheartening enough getting a question wrong when you were so sure you had the right answer! There's no need to rub salt into the wound by writing overly blunt or harsh feedback for the learner to read. It can feel a little too much like being called out by the teacher in front of the class to be told just how wrong you were. An experience like that can cause your learners to become resentful toward the learning experience, as it becomes associated with anger and embarrassment. A resentful learner is less likely to absorb and implement the learning and will resist future learning experiences.

Therefore, avoid discouraging your learners by being gentle with your feedback for incorrect responses. Instead of critical words like "Wrong" or "Incorrect," try starting your feedback with a title that gently redirects the learner, such as "Not quite…," "Close!" or "Actually…". Adopting a casual, conversational tone can soften the blow and make it easier to direct the learner towards the correct answer. And don’t forget to commend and encourage your learners when they do get it right! A small "Well done!" or "Nice work!" can go a long way.

2. Include The Correct Answers

If your learner didn’t submit the correct answer, it’s probably because they don’t know it! Instead of moving on and leaving your learner confused or unsure, turn it into a learning moment by sharing the correct answer in your feedback. Then, if you can, use question pools to deliver different questions if the learner needs to retake the assessment.

It’s also a great idea to reiterate the correct answer even when your learner did get it right because there’s always a chance that they took a guess and got lucky. In a multiple-choice question with 4 or 5 options, there's a 20-25% chance that the learner made a lucky pick without knowing the correct answer. Similarly, a learner might choose the right answer for the wrong reason. These two cases are no better as an incorrect answer because the learner lacks the understanding that is the objective of the learning. By including the correct answer, you have the chance to correct a lack of knowledge.

When implementing this principle, your feedback for both correct and incorrect answers may end up looking very similar, and that’s okay!

3. Explain The Correct Answer

When writing questions, we often keep the potential answers simple. There’s no need to clutter up the page or give away the answer by explaining it first. That’s why it’s a good idea to provide an explanation of the correct answer in your feedback. Why was the correct answer correct? What principle or process should have guided the learner?

You might also like to address the incorrect answers and why they missed the mark. This could potentially clear up misunderstandings for learners who may have felt they had a good reason for choosing an incorrect answer. This can be especially helpful when you’ve included answers that are almost-but-not-quite correct to catch learners who aren’t paying attention.

All in all, writing feedback shouldn’t be a chore. It’s the perfect chance to encourage your learner and reinforce your key learning outcomes. Just keep it simple, straightforward, and positive and your learners will love you for it.

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