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What if learners don’t respond to feedback?

the ideal feedback relationship, and significant improvements to learner outcomes can be made by using some of these evidence-based approaches​.
feedback conversation
© University of Nottingham

Earlier this week, we proposed an evidence-based feedback recipe, and the ideal feedback relationship, and significant improvements to learner outcomes can be made by using some of these evidence-based approaches​.

However, many teachers will come across situations where no matter how well they prepare or try, some learners may not respond to or receive their feedback.

There are a number of things to consider when learners appear not to receive or respond well to feedback​:

  • Utility: whether the feedback is instrumental in achieving goals or obtaining desired outcomes
  • Accountability: an individual’s tendency to feel a sense of obligation to act on feedback
  • Social awareness: an individual’s tendency to use feedback to be aware of other’s views of themself
  • Feedback self-efficacy: an individual’s tendency to have confidence in dealing with feedback situations
  • Feedback orientation: an individual’s overall receptivity to feedback.

An individual needs to believe that feedback is instrumental for helping them achieve their learning goals or getting what they want out of their work​. This is the concept of feedback utility and teachers could start by orientating learners to the purpose of feedback before an activity or assessment so learners are more aware of the utility of feedback for achieving their learning goals from the start​.

Discussion point

Think back to the last few times you have given feedback to different learners.

  • To what extent did you feel they understood why they needed to change as a result of your feedback?

Share your experiences and thoughts in the discussion below.

© University of Nottingham
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