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School of Engineering Teaching Seminar

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JWS526

James Watt South Building

School of Engineering

United Kingdom

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STUDENTS MUST GENERATE INTERNAL FEEDBACK IN ORDER TO LEARN

Prof. David Nicol

This seminar will address the argument that feedback is an internal not an external process as far as learning is concerned. Students produce internal feedback all the time – they must do so if they are to regulate their own learning. When they receive external feedback from a tutor it has to be turned into internal feedback if it is to have any effect.

Growing empirical research shows that with structured interventions the feedback students generate by and for themselves can be enhanced, in ways that both complement and reduce the need for tutor feedback. One such intervention is peer review. Research shows that students producing written feedback for their peers simultaneously generate insights (inner feedback) into their own work, insights that they can use to update their work even before receiving feedback from peers. Inner feedback production can also be readily linked to quality standards in ways that help students develop robust concepts of quality and standards.

The production of internal feedback can be made explicit and strengthened in peer review but also through other educational methods. Strengthening inner feedback processes puts students more in control of their own learning and it helps them develop their capacity to think for themselves and to become more self-regulating, a stated goal of ‘higher education’. This must be reconciled with the NSS which is leading some in higher education to focus their efforts primarily on encouraging improvements in the quality of external feedback delivery by teachers rather than on the quality of internal feedback production by students.

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JWS526

James Watt South Building

School of Engineering

United Kingdom

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