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Contemporary Approaches to Feedback

Learn more about the old paradigm and new paradigm to feedback.
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0 Images by Getty Images
I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
(Confucius, n.d., as cited in Open University, 2019)

Old Paradigm vs New Paradigm to Feedback

As captured in this famous quotation, merely hearing or seeing input is far less effective than being actively involved in a process.
This idea has been mirrored in recent conceptions of feedback, which have shifted the focus from providing monologic information (one directional feedback from teacher to student) towards a more dialogic approach. This is where the tutor and student engage in a dialogue (whether written or spoken), to enable the student to take a more active role in the feedback process.
Differences between the traditional old paradigm and the new paradigm. Old paradigm = feedback as transfer of information, whereas new paradigm = interaction with and between students. Old paradigm = monologic feedback, whereas new paradigm = feedback as a dialogue. Old paradigm = conventional feedback, whereas new paradigm = sustainable feedback. Select the image to expand it
The new paradigm also argues that feedback should be sustainable, with impact that extends beyond the assessment task itself (Hounsell, 2007). This is explored in more detail on the PGCLaTHE.
To make the principles of the new paradigm a reality, students need opportunities to interact with tutors and peers so they can discuss and reflect on their feedback and consider how best to act on it. Rather than feedback relying solely on the tutor, there should be:
… active student participation in dialogic activities in which students generate and use feedback from peers, self, or others as part of an ongoing process of developing capacities as autonomous, self-regulating learners.
(Carless, 2013, p. 113)


Carless, D. (2013). Sustainable feedback and the development of student self-evaluative capacities. In S. Merry, M. Price, D. Carless, & M. Taras (Eds.), Reconceptualising feedback in higher education: Developing dialogue with students (pp. 113–122). Routledge.

Hounsell, D. (2007). Towards more sustainable feedback to students. In N. Falchikov, & D. Boud (Eds.), Rethinking assessment in higher education (pp. 111–123). Routledge.

Open University, (2019, March 1). 12 famous Confucius quotes on education and learning. Web link

Winstone, N., & Carless, D. (2019). Designing effective feedback processes in higher education: A learning-focused approach. Routledge.

© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0 Images by Getty Images
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