At Teamie we are always pleased to hear feedback on how our technology can be leveraged to enhance learning. Learning is, of course, a complex process with many facets and conditions which act to enhance or impede the process. We are thankful that passionate educators, take the time to study and report findings of how certain conditions of the learning processes can be positively influenced and improved.
Recently, Mr. Trevor Hughes of Saint Joseph's Institution International School Singapore (SJII), conducted a study on student provision of peer feedback and how a community of practice supporting this influences student learning. The qualitative data Mr. Hughes gathered to support his findings offers much useful information for educators to study, and use to inform practice and methods.
The survey was conducted with 88 student volunteers placed in 7 Teamie Classrooms, 1 question a week was posted for 16 weeks. For each posted question students were given the following two tasks:
Task 1: Post a solution to the question
Task 2: Comment on other student’s work
The Survey findings are shown below in the form of an infographic:
As a mechanism for the practice of providing peer feedback, the students in the study leveraged the Teamie LMS platform, in particular, the newsfeed feature. We are honoured that the platform was part of this process. The results point to positive outcomes and learning gains with the provision of peer feedback, building a community of practice and leveraging technology as a means to carry out or implement said techniques/mechanisms.
Mr. Hughes study states as a background that, “feedback is well established as having a major impact on learning.” A short discussion of what has been established as the positive pedagogical effects of providing avenues and building skills for peer feedback may help individuals apply the findings of this study to their methods and practices.
Peer assessment and peer feedback as an effective pedagogical strategy:
- Teaches students skills of critical thinking
- Giving and receiving feedback help learners take responsibility for their own learning
- Peer feedback incorporates other essential learning skills such as: collaborative learning, metacognition, and self-regulation
- Improves engagement in the learning process
- Active engagement in peer assessment produces better-structured interaction between students, as well as more organised written work
- Gives learners a better understanding of standards which will be transferred to formation and completion of their own task, resulting in higher quality
Another key concept in the study is community of practice (CoP). The idea that learning occurs in social contexts, ideas and understanding emerge and evolve when people have common goals and interact as they strive towards those goals. You might think of communities of practice as an expansion on the concept of peer assessment and peer feedback, or those processes being part of the larger concept CoP.
Some features for, and advantages of, creating CoP as a learning environment:
- Views learning as a continuous social action that takes place through interactions with the environment (this environment could be a Virtual Learning Environment VLE or traditional classroom) and other individuals
- A community of practice provides learners with an environment where they can build and showcase both knowledge and practice (skills and processes)
- CoP provides learners the opportunity to learn through relationships with their peers and practitioners in the community
Teaching and learning are evolutionary practices which are continuously being studied, reviewed and improved. As our understanding of pedagogical processes evolves, so must the technology designed to support these practices effectively.