Multiple studies of the effects of immediate feedback have been conducted by everyone from E.L. Thorndike in 1911, Sidney Pressey in the early 1920’s, and Skinner’s “teaching machine” approach in the 1960’s; but despite the efforts of these men, their studies proved inconsistent. According to Skinner, reinforcement can be considered to be a type of feedback that informs the learner about the adequacy of their responses and also increased the probability that the behavior will occur in the future (Samuels & Wu, 2006).
In my opinion, providing students with immediate feedback on their work is crucial to their success in and out of the classroom. Immediate feedback goes hand-in-hand with providing students with the opportunity to take an active role in their own learning. Three recommendations for general classroom practices for providing feedback are to use criterion-referenced feedback, focus on specific types of knowledge, and use student-led feedback (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007).
The use of technology in the classroom has made giving feedback even more accessible. Incorporating polls, student response systems such as SMART Response, grading software, and electronic rubrics can not only provide timely disaggregated data to the teacher, but can be a great motivator for students.
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Denver, CO: Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.
Samuels, S., & Wu, Y. (2006). Effects of immediate feedback. Informally published manuscript, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Minnesota, Retrieved from http://www.epsteineducation.com/home/articles/file/research/immediate_feedback.pdf