It's a Matter of Time: Formative Feedback in Online Learning Environments

Sunday, 8 November 2015: 4:40 PM

Deborah L. Sikes, MSN, RN ,CNE
School of Nursing, Room 334, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX, USA

Students desire to know how they are performing in online learning environments.  The challenge for instructors teaching in the online learning environment is providing students with information to improve their performance prior to the assignment of a final grade. Formative feedback is an assessment element used to provide learners with information about how they are performing. Formative feedback is defined as "information communicated to the learner that is intended to modify the learner’s thinking or behavior for the purpose of improving learning" (Shute, 2008, p.1). The formation of learning goals are assessed and evaluated in a manner that allows students to make changes and expand learning based on suggestions from instructors (Shute, 2008). Students perceive effective instructor feedback to be feedback provided in a timely manner with specific, constructive guidance to make changes and apply to future assignments (Getzlaf, Perry, Toffner, Lamarche, & Edwards, 2009). Failure to provide timely feedback may decrease motivation to make changes and decrease deeper learning (Stein, Wanstreet, Slagle, Trinko, & Lutz, 2013). 

What is meant by “timely” feedback? Timely feedback can range from 24 hours to two weeks, depending upon the setting for the instruction (Ferguson, 2011; Getzlaf et al., 2009). The purpose of this presentation is to describe the results of a study to determine student satisfaction with timeliness of instructor feedback in online graduate nursing courses. Using a mixed-method approach, a mid-semester survey was distributed to 611 students enrolled in an online graduate nursing program. Results of the study will be discussed with a focus on the statistically significant relationship between timely feedback and high student satisfaction with feedback to make changes to future assignments (p = .000, Chi-square = 33.9, df = 1). The target audience for this presentation is faculty and nurse educators teaching in distance or online learning environments. With increasing demands on organizations to decrease costs, the techniques provided in this presentation will demonstrate specific tools to improve timely feedback to learners in multiple learning environments. Using tools as Blackboard Collaborate®, Blackboard IM®, and Join.Me®, learners will discover virtual communication tools to implement and share feedback with students and colleagues (Blackboard, 2012; Join.Me, 2015).  Upon completion of this session, the learner will be able to describe at least three approaches to improve student satisfaction with timely feedback and differentiate at least three preferred generational strategies for providing timely feedback.