Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Usefulness of feedback in e-learning from the students’ perspective

María-Jesús Martínez-Argüelles, Dolors Plana, Carolina Hintzmann, Josep-Maria Batalla-Busquets, Marc Badia


Purpose: Functionality of feedback in pedagogical processes has been broadly analyzed
in face-to-face learning, although to a lesser extent than in the on-line learning. Narciss
(2004, 2008) distinguishes two dimensions within the feedback, the semantic dimension
and the structural dimension. This article aims to analyze, from the student’s
perspective, the semantic dimension of feedback in a virtual learning environment
Firstly, we analyze the importance that VLE students give to feedback and its degree of
personalization. Later, the usefulness that students deem feedback should have, paying
special attention to each of its semantic subdimensions (Narciss, 2004).
Design/methodology/approach: A survey was conducted among students of
Business Administration degree of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC). 182
students took part, separated into two groups (pilot and control).
Findings: It has been proved that 90% of students give a great or very great
importance to reception of feedback from their tutors, a relevance they consider to be
higher than the one within a face-to-face environment. This percentage is around 75%
with regard to the importance given to the level of personalization of feedback. The
development of a factor analysis has revealed that usefulness of personalized feedback
perceived by the students can be subsumed under two large dimensions: the one that
facilitates learning (related to its semantic dimension) and the motivational one (by allowing an easier and more fluid communication with the tutor, contributing not to
leave the course, etc.) The latter dimension has been also proved to be key in order to
attain improvements in the students’ satisfaction with the learning process.
This research was funded by the Catalan government and the UOC, within the
framework of projects to Improve Teaching Quality (ITQ).
Originality/value: Implementing personalized feedback has a relevant impact on the
student, who values it because it makes his learning process easier, richer and more
significant. Moreover, it has a clear motivational effect over the student, which had not
been sufficiently evidenced by other researches. Such effect needs not to be
underestimated, particularly within an on-line environment, where dropout rate is
usually high.

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