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The Australian Higher Education sector is in desperate need for a useful and useable approach to improving feedback to promote student learning. Despite large investments, students continue to be highly critical of how feedback is enacted.

We have a surfeit of models, frameworks, principles and strategies in the considerable expanse of literature exploring feedback. Yet we have little guidance on how to choose amongst them. This project directly addresses this need by seeking to answer the following questions:

  • Which options work – and when?
  • Why do some options not work?

Innovative approach

This project stands out from previous work by adopting fresh and innovative ways to tackle the critical need for improving feedback.

  • It will provide large scale quantitative and rich qualitative evidence of current diversity in successful feedback practices, including new and emerging forms supported by digital technologies, evolving course structures and assessment models.
  • It adopts an ecological perspective in understanding why feedback is so difficult to get right. It builds on and encapsulates the models and recommendations developed by others, and offers an innovative meta framework that guides institutions, learners and educators in their choices.
  • It adopts a participatory design approach to increasing impact and quality. Up to 180 educators, academic developers, instructional designers as well as leaders in learning and teaching from around Australia actively negotiate how the project outcomes can work within their institutions and courses. This enables highly refined local action plans and improved project outcomes through constant adaptation of the framework and resources to include these new perspectives and innovative designs.

Structure and phases

This funded project will run over 18 months, in addition to the pre-project preparation stage and post-project dissemination and engagement activities. It has been designed to align four phases of activity with the four challenges of feedback.

Phase 1: What are the current assessment feedback practices and which of these lead to improved student performance?

Phase 2: Why are some forms of these practices successful?

Phase 3: How can we best design for effective feedback to promote learning?

Phase 4: How can the circumstances of successful feedback for learning be replicated and sustained across and within Australian universities?