The Importance of Immediate Feedback

Last week, I chuckled as I monitored one of our students, Deacon, doing the Certified Learning module called “Look and Learn Words.” Deacon is in kindergarten, and I have noticed all throughout the school year that Deacon ducks his head right before the little green square lights up either red or green to let him know if his answer was correct or incorrect.

Deacon really wants to be correct and he can’t stand the thought that he might be wrong! We have worked with him to keep practicing on those modules that are more difficult so that he can gain mastery. It’s fun to see Deacon smile and clap when he has mastered a module so that he can move on to the next challenge!

Certified Learning works because it gives students immediate feedback on their progress. Research in recent years highlights the fact that effective feedback has an impact on student achievement and motivation. University of Texas researcher Professor James Pennbaker explains the role of feedback:

“When people are trying to learn new skills, they must get some information that tells them whether or not they are doing the right thing. Learning in the classroom is no exception. Both the mastery of content and, more importantly, the mastery of how to think require trial-and-error learning.”

I love how a student gains momentum and excitement when they see their own progress on Certified Learning modules. Antonio Chevez, a consultant with NeuroPower in Australia, explained to our school last summer how current neuroscience shows how this feedback is motivating and an essential need of the brain. “The brain is a self regulating machine that adapts constantly to external feedback. The primary source of this is through the eyes and large regions of the brain associated with visual processing. Often we need to see it to believe it and the brain is always searching for continuous feedback.”

I can confidently talk to parents and show how Certified Learning, and the immediate feedback that comes with it, is making a difference in their child’s learning. Seeing the results and progress our students are making is believing!

written by: Pam Jarvis, SOI Practitioner

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