Questions about feedback

Answer to "What are strategies to enhance feedback seeking among learners?"

Feedback-seeking behaviour is a proactive search for feedback information, ideally from multiple sources. Feedback seeking, particularly active seeking of constructive feedback, can have beneficial effects on:

  • Performance

  • Learning and creativity

  • Adaptation and socialisation

 

Feedback seeking is a desired characterisitic of self-directed and lifelong learning

Three main motives for feedback-seeking behavior have been described:

  • Need to obtain useful information

  • Need to preserve or enhance one’s own ego

  • Need to defend or enhance the impression others hold of the person

 

Feedback seeking behaviour can be influenced by multiple factors:

  • Characteristics of the feedback provider

  • Manner of feedback delivery

  • Perceived intent of the feedback provider when providing feedback, especially constructive feedback

  • Characteristics of the feedback seeker such as desire for accurate self-assessment and motivation for self-improvement

  • Relationship between the feedback seeker and provider

  • Perception of threat or benefit to self-esteem

  • Goal-orientation of learners. Individuals with performance goal-orientation focus on how they appear to others and may reject feedback on areas for improvement. Those with learning goal-orrientation seek mastery and view failure as an opportunity to learn.

 

Moving from individual to institutional level, the learning culture is likely to be a significant influence on feedback seeking. Strategies that can promote feedback seeking by learners include:

  • Expectations from institutions that learners should seek feedback

  • A learning culture that promotes learning goal-orientation rather than performance-goal orientation

  • Training in seeking goal-directed feedback, and in fostering feedback-seeking

  • Trusting, supportive teacher-learner relationships

  • Training in receiving and accepting constructive feedback

  • Emphasis on self-assessment and self-reflection on performance

  • Encouraging learners to seek feedback from multiple sources

  • Inculcating a spirit of self-awareness among learners

 

References

Bok, H. G. J., Teunissen, P. W., Spruijt, A., Fokkema, J. P. I., et al. (2013) ‘Clarifying students’ feedback-seeking behaviour in clinical clerkships’, Medical Education, 47(3), pp. 282–291. https://doi.org/10.1111/medu.12054.

Crommelinck, M. and Anseel, F. (2013) ‘Understanding and encouraging feedback-seeking behaviour: a literature review’, Medical Education, 47(3), pp. 232–241. https://doi.org/10.1111/medu.12075.

Gaunt, A., Patel, A., Fallis, S., Rusius, V., et al. (2017) ‘Surgical Trainee Feedback-Seeking Behavior in the Context of Workplace-Based Assessment in Clinical Settings’, Academic Medicine, 92(6), pp. 827–834. https://doi.org/10.1097/ACM.0000000000001523.

Gaunt, A., Patel, A., Rusius, V., Royle, T. J., et al. (2017) ‘“Playing the game”: How do surgical trainees seek feedback using workplace-based assessment?’, Medical Education, 51(9), pp. 953–962. https://doi.org/10.1111/medu.13380.

Molloy, E. and Boud, D. (2013) ‘Seeking a different angle on feedback in clinical education: the learner as seeker, judge and user of performance information’, Medical Education, 47(3), pp. 227–229. https://doi.org/10.1111/medu.12116.

Teunissen, P. W., Stapel, D. A., van der Vleuten, C., Scherpbier, A., et al. (2009) ‘Who Wants Feedback? An Investigation of the Variables Influencing Residents’ Feedback-Seeking Behavior in Relation to Night Shifts’, Academic Medicine, 84(7), p. 910. https://doi.org/10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181a858ad.

VandeWalle, D. and Cummings, L. L. (1997) ‘A test of the influence of goal orientation on the feedback-seeking process’, Journal of Applied Psychology, 82(3), pp. 390–400. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.82.3.390.

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