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Providing immediate feedback: A responsible approach to learning

Gail Chittleborough, David Treagust and Mauro Mocerino
Science and Mathematics Education Centre, Curtin University of Technology
In 2002 pre-laboratory exercises were introduced to an introductory first year chemistry unit which were designed to better prepare students for the laboratory work by asking questions about the objectives of the experiment, the procedures, equipment and calculations. These online exercises were straightforward and simple and were worth 2% of the students' total marks. Students were given three opportunities to do the pre-laboratory exercises, thereby learning from their mistakes, with the highest score being recorded. The desired outcomes of this project were to improve links between theory and practical work and provide immediate feedback to students, leading them to the correct answer and suggesting reasons for their incorrect choice as well as reinforcing correct answers and instilling confidence in their ability. Students were surveyed about their opinions of the value of the pre-laboratory exercises and this along with the record of pre-laboratory exercises form the basis of the data for this paper.

There are two aspects that are discussed here in relation to the 'partners in learning' theme of the conference. The first is the importance of the immediate feedback in helping students to learn the difficult and abstract chemistry concepts and address common misconceptions. The second aspect is the responsibility of the instructors to provide suitable resources to enable students to achieve the learning that is required and the responsibility of the student to make use of these resources. The objective of this instructional strategy was to encourage a positive learning environment without the pressures of assessment. The data provides evidence of students' interest in how they are learning and examples of reflective learning practices. This metacognitive awareness on the behalf of students demonstrates an appreciation of their responsibility for the learning and their value of the learning resources.

Please cite as: Chittleborough, G., Treagust, D. and Mocerino, M. (2003). Providing immediate feedback: A responsible approach to learning. In Partners in Learning. Proceedings of the 12th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 11-12 February 2003. Perth: Edith Cowan University. http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/chittleborough-abs.html

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Last revision: 13 Jan 2003. This URL: http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/chittleborough-abs.html