As schools across Australia reimagine how they deliver education in a hybrid world, a core component of any successful strategy is the way in which feedback is delivered.
This series of blogs, called Feedback Fundamentals, will explore how digital learning platforms can close the feedback loop, foster engagement, and encourage agency among the three key stakeholders in any child’s learning journey – the student, the parent, and the educator.
We’ll also highlight the real-world benefits and positive learning outcomes of a hybrid education strategy built upon frequent and accessible feedback, with a case study of a local school who has taken such an approach and reaped the rewards.
Keeping learners on track with continuous reporting
In the traditional approach to education, reporting has typically been summative with reports issued at semester’s end or another pre-defined interval.
While this model served students well in the face-to-face, in-classroom world, it does not translate to the hybrid and digital learning models being adopted today.
This is because when a learner and educator spend hours each day together in a classroom, feedback and encouragement can be delivered immediately. Such real-time in-person feedback helped keep learners on track, motivated them to move forward, and identified areas requiring further work.
Although delivered almost by reflex, these day-to-day moments of feedback filled in the gaps between the end-of-semester summative reports.
In hybrid and digital methods of delivery, however, reporting has to be reimagined.
Without the frequent face-to-face feedback delivered in a classroom setting to bridge the time between formal reports, a continuous reporting strategy can help support learners in a digital learning environment.
One of the key elements of such an approach is decoupling assessment and reporting.
This is critical to keeping learners engaged as it recognises that not all feedback is assessment. With continuous reporting, students don’t need to wait until the end-of-semester assessments to know how they’re tracking along their learning journey.
Without the day-to-day face-to-face feedback of the in-class model, continuous reporting can ensure students receive regular timely feedback – complete with individualised annotations and guidance – from teachers in real-time.
This frequent feedback, delivered in conjunction with assessment results throughout the semester, enables the learner to keep track of their progress, dedicate additional time to topic areas in which they’re struggling, and receive encouragement and support to keep them motivated throughout the term.
By giving learners visibility into their progress through continuous reporting, they’re given agency over their education and empowered to achieve the best learning outcomes. Purely summative reporting in the digital and hybrid model, on the other hand, leaves learners flying blind throughout the semester, until they’re delivered an assessment result at which point it is too late for them improve.
Whereas assessment measures a learner’s progress at particular point in time, feedback supports them over an extended period.
This is where a Learning Management System (LMS) can truly come into its own. As every learner has their own profile and dashboard, all personalised feedback from the educator is stored in the one place. Further, by linking the LMS to assessment tools and discussion groups, the learner is not only able to track their own progress and grades, they’re also able to expand their understanding of the topic by discussing it with their peers.
Finally, a tool unique to D2L’s Brightspace LMS – Portfolio – empowers learners to showcase their non-assessment achievements (perhaps a video of a project they’ve completed), share their reflections, and gain recognition from peers and teachers which further strengthens the depth, breadth, and quality of feedback they receive.
While continuous reporting is essential to supporting students in the new hybrid learning paradigm, it is also a powerful tool to give parents visibility over their children’s progress. Read our next blog in the Feedback Fundamentals series to find out more.