Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Comment on "Relative Effectiveness of Computer-based and Human Feedback for Enhancing Student Learning"

Relative Effectiveness of Computer-based and Human Feedback for Enhancing Student Learning by B. Jean Mandernach, Park University.

The author noted that:
There are two primary avenues for this type of feedback: interactions with online instructors and computer-based feedback automatically generated by online assessment programs.

Well, there is at least a third type of avenues for obtaining feedback and enhance the online learners knowledge of the course material - peer-to-peer evaluation.

The author's study has shown that:
The purpose of this study is to examine the educational impact of presenting various levels of computer-based, online feedback (no-feedback, knowledge-of-response, knowledge-of-correct-response, topic-contingent, and response-contingent) either alone or paired with human interaction in an independent, mastery learning environment. Results indicate that student learning is enhanced by human interaction but is not influenced by the various types of computer-based feedback. Although the type of computer-based feedback does not impact student learning, students report distinct preferences for knowledge-of-response and response-contingent computer-based feedback.

I have read a lot of other studies - all point to the same result. Learning is enhanced by human interaction, not computer-based canned feedback system. In this new world of learning, we should now begin to take a more "student-centred" view. Feedback need not, and should not, come from the teacher alone. Peer learners is a great source of support, both evaluative and otherwise. Don't waste this value resource and pedagogical opportunity.


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