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Jan 19 2016 - 07:00 PM
What Can I Do Better?

It is common sense that receiving feedback and revising work, elements of the learning process, result in a better product. If the goal of education is to teach students how to learn, then teaching them self-regulated learning behaviors such as seeking negative feedback and choosing to revise are important aspects of that. Behavioral scientists can leverage the medium of learning technology, specifically for its responsive nature and data collection capacities, to understand the correlation between students’ inclination to ask for negative feedback and its corresponding impact on learning.

Researchers designed a short game-based assessment, Posterlet, in which students designed a poster for a "Fun Fair." Through the game, students created three posters. For each poster, they had three opportunities to choose positive or negative feedback and one chance to revise. Feedback was presented by cartoon animal characters who gently offered positive comments ("Your poster has big letters. Really easy to read.") or negative comments ("People need to be able to read it. Some of your words are too small.") related to graphic design principles that were aligned to indicators of final design quality. Students took a pre-test and post-test that assessed their mastery of design principles. The researchers collected data on how often students choose negative feedback, their decision to revise, the quality of their final posters, and their pre- and post-test understanding of design.

Results showed a positive correlation between seeking negative feedback and, to a lesser extent, revision, as well as the quality of final posters and post-test scores. The researchers suggest various explanations for these results: students who don’t seek negative feedback are exhibiting ego-protecting behaviors, students who seek negative feedback engage in longer dwell time which results in learning, and choices to seek feedback are related to students’ out-of-school and in-school experiences.

This study of students self-regulatory practices to seek negative feedback and revise accordingly is an important contribution to the field of learning analytics for adaptive learning programs. By measuring student behavior through an interactive design learning game such as Posterlet in this study, the researchers set the stage for thinking about how to develop intelligent learning systems that encourage self-regulatory learning behaviors.

Cutumisu, M., Blair, K. P., Chin, D. B., & Schwartz, D.L (2015). Posterlet: A game‐based assessment of children’s choices to seek feedback and to revise. Journal of Learning Analytics, 2(1), 49–71.

Image: Got Feedback? by Alan Levine via Flickr