University of Limerick
OConnor_2021_Feedback.pdf (952.45 kB)

A feedback journey: employing a constructivist approach to the development of feedback literacy among health professional learners

Download (952.45 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2021-09-20, 11:13 authored by Anne O'Connor, Arlene McCurtin
Background: Feedback, if effectively provided by the teacher and utilised by the learner, enables improvement in academic performance. It is clear from current literature that the provision of feedback by teachers is not sufficient on its own to guarantee improvements as early university entrants may not be sufficiently equipped to effectively engage with feedback. Nonetheless, it is critical for health professional students to develop feedback literacy early, in order to prepare them for a professional career of lifelong learning and critical thinking. The overarching aim of this study was to identify a feasible, sustainable approach to improve feedback literacy among students on pre-qualifying health professional programmes. Methods: The study was divided into two phases. A mixed-methods approach grounded in constructivism was employed. Participants included teachers and learners from the School of Allied Health at X University, and two internationally acclaimed educationalists. In phase 1, first year students were encouraged to use an established online platform to upload modular feedback and develop personal learning action plans aimed at improving academic performance. A follow-up survey highlighted poor engagement with this method. Thus, the second phase focused on the co-construction of a suite of modules to develop these skills, supported by academic staff. Interviews were conducted with participants to review and refine this initiative. Results: Learners’ engagement with the first phase of the study was poor. Thus, the second phase provided all stakeholders with the opportunity to feed into the development of a suite of modules, designed to encourage teachers and learners to work in partnership to nurture these skills. All stakeholder groups reported short- and long-term benefits with this approach, but also highlighted challenges towards its implementation. Conclusion: The development of feedback literacy among health professional learners is essential. The transferability of such skills has been highlighted in the literature and by all stakeholder groups involved in this study. Finding a balance between introducing these skills at a time early enough to highlight their importance among university entrants is challenging. Further balance must be achieved between the workload required to achieve these skills and current programme demands for both teachers and learners



BMC Medical Education;21, 486





Other Funding information

Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, Ireland



Usage metrics

    University of Limerick


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager