Do You Give Feedback People Can Actually Learn From?

The Grace Hill training tip of the week focuses on providing feedback that is useful to your tenants, leasing agents and property managers.

By Ellen Clark

Did you ever have a teacher who marked up your essays with feedback like, “unclear”, “poor word choice” or “watch your sentence structure”?

If so, you might remember feeling a bit helpless, wondering what the comments meant and what to do with them.

Comments like these may have given you some information about your performance, but did they really help you become a better writer?

 When we are learning new things, it is important to get timely information about what we are doing right or wrong and why, along with information about how to improve. This is called feedback, and it is a critical component of improving learner performance.

 How can you create meaningful feedback for your learners?

Here are some tips!

 "We want your feedback!" megaphone

Using explanatory feedback is key to provide learners with guidance on how to move forward.

  • In addition, to “correct” or “incorrect”, provide an explanation of why the response is correct or incorrect. Refer back to key points or examples from the training. Explanation is most useful when it provides learners with an understanding of where they are, and some guidance on how they can move forward.
  • Be timely. Feedback is most effective when it is given immediately, rather than days or weeks after the learner responded to the question or submitted the assignment. An advantage of some online learning formats is that you can provide feedback immediately. If that’s not possible, just try to follow the rule, “the sooner, the better.”
  • Display the question, response, and feedback together. Having to flip between the question and the feedback can add cognitive load to learning. If possible, position the feedback so that the learner can see the question, his or her response, and the feedback at the same time. This is most feasible when using online formats but think about this when providing feedback in other formats as well.

In a pinch, have learners generate their own feedback.

What if you don’t have the time or resources to provide explanation on written assignments or more complicated work products?

 In these cases, ask learners to evaluate their responses against a scoring rubric and a sample answer.  Purposeful comparison to an exemplar, even if the learner doesn’t get feedback from you, can be helpful in getting things into long-term memory.

A missed question or imperfect assignment provides just the right opportunity to teach and correct any misconceptions the learner has. Don’t let these important moments go by!

Instead, use targeted, timely, explanation to improve performance and keep learners headed in the right direction.

Read Ellen’s blog post here.

About the author:

Ellen Clark is the Director of Assessment at Grace Hill.  Her work has spanned the entire learner lifecycle, from elementary school through professional education. She spent over 10 years working with K12 Inc.’s network of online charter schools – measuring learning, developing learning improvement plans using evidence-based strategies, and conducting learning studies. Later, at Kaplan Inc., she worked in the vocational education and job training divisions, improving online, blended and face-to-face training programs, and working directly with business leadership and trainers to improve learner outcomes and job performance. Ellen lives and works in Maryland, where she was born and raised.

About Grace Hill

For nearly two decades, Grace Hill has been developing best-in-class online training courseware and administration solely for the Property Management Industry, designed to help people, teams and companies improve performance and reduce risk.

Photo credit ihorzigor via