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VLE … not just a distribution tool? December 2, 2011

Posted by IaninSheffield in Management, Resources, Tools.
Tags: , , , ,

A colleague came to me recently asking if there was a way our VLE might be able to help with an initiative he wanted to undertake within his department and with their Year 8 students. They’d always solicited feedback from students, but this was usually ad hoc and with the intention of informing the course and lesson structures. Their wish was to make the feedback process more structured and more useful to the students, enabling them to monitor and reflect on their progress.

Although we have a learning platform built around a SharePoint implementation, we decided on using the Feedback tool in our Moodle VLE since the resultant data could be viewed, extracted and manipulated a little more easily. Referring back to the feedback they provided would also be slightly easier for the students.

history review questions

Question sheet

We chose a traffic-light system (Red, Amber & Green) to give a three point scale, which they would set against different aspects of their course, what they learned, what skills they developed etc. In addition each section concluded with a free-text response into which they would add action plan points.

Once all the responses are submitted, the teacher can see an overview, allowing topic or skill areas the students felt less confident with to be seen immediately … which of course enables remedial action to be taken where necessary. S/he canhistory feedback results also see the action points the students feel they want to address, again making the choice of an appropriate course of action so much easier and hopefully subsequently more effective.

Each individual student can see a summary of their responses and print it out for future reference if appropriate. More importantly, they will be able to refer back to their responses later in the year when they repeat the process and thereby be able to see whether their action points have had the intended effects.

Here we can see the free-text responses showing the action points students had for one of the sections.

feedback cloud

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo by ianguest: http://flickr.com/photos/ianinsheffield/6443365481/

Formulating targets for self-improvement is never easy and as we can see, some of the responses perhaps need teasing out a little more. Part of the process of moving the students forward will be in helping them develop the more reflective aspects of their approach, so their action points become increasingly SMART.

Wouldn’t it be great if all subjects required their students to undertake self-reflection like this, on a regular basis so it simply became a natural part of learning? And how about if that data was fed into a central system so a student could see their progress profile across their subject range? And if their pastoral tutors (mentors) had access to that data too so that students got timely and appropriate guidance on addressing areas needing further development … and got praised for areas in which they’re improving?

OK I know. Small steps.


cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo by cjsimmons: http://flickr.com/photos/cjsimmons/130008318/


1. Nick Jackson (@largerama) - December 2, 2011

Liking it Ian. May be trying to get this going in our school once the new network settles down

ianinsheffield - December 2, 2011

Just feeling our way at the moment Nick. There’s doubtless better ways to do this, but the important thing is someone chose to go for it and took the first steps. I’ll do all I can to help the pioneers; love ’em!

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