We have been discussing things that can be done in the online learning environment to enhance student motivation and interaction. One of the things we mentioned last week was the critical importance of timely feedback in the online context specifically. This week, we will talk further about feedback and further implications.
While many instructors recognize the importance of timely and personal learner feedback, providing it in a consistent manner in online courses can serve as a challenge due to professional and academic workload schedule constraints (Li & Irby, 2008). Magnussen (2008) addresses this by giving advice to instructors on specifying times to where students can expect feedback during the week when they can make themselves most promptly available.
Others suggest anticipating mass email from learners and posting student questions on class wide discussion forums in order to intentionally decrease student misunderstanding and repeated questions (Gallien & OomenEarly, 2008; Li & Irby;). Across the board, there is common consensus that the immediacy of feedback and social presence on behalf of the learning facilitator is the number one cited reason for learner satisfaction in the online environment.
Due to the nature of 24/7 online environments, there have been reports of learners demonstrating irrational expectations for facilitators being available constantly throughout a given day. This might be a factor that plays into the reason that online teaching can be so time-consuming. It could also be a good reason for the online learning facilitator to be as clear as possible about time-frames, discussion expectations with corresponding rubrics and policy, when they will be getting back to the students, when and for how long they are off the grid, and what the learners can expect from them in terms of virtual office hours and timely feedback.
What about you? How have you demonstrated or experienced timely feedback in an online learning context? How did it contribute to the motivation and learning that took place? We always love hearing from you and your experiences and would love for you to add to the conversation.
- Gallien, T., & Oomen-Early, J. (2008). Personalized versus collective instructor feedback in the online classroom: Does type of feedback affect student satisfaction, academic performance and perceived connectedness with the instructor? International Journal on ELearning, 7(3), 463476.
- Li, C, & Irby, B. (2008). An overview of online education: Attractiveness, benefits, challenges, concerns and recommendations. College Student Journal, 42(2), 449-458.
- Magnussen, L. (2008). Applying the principles of significant learning in the e-learning environment. Journal of Nursing Education, 47(2), 8286.
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