Social Learning

There has been much discussion, and to be honest enthusiastic embrace, of the idea of socially constructed learning by using a peer feedback process. However, as teachers and trainers if we are planning to utilize peer feedback we must be careful to both provide feedback guidelines and monitor feedback quality.

By providing foundational guidelines for feedback the learning process will be more constructive for both learners and reviews. In the majority of cases only three major ideas need to be present in reviewer guidelines. First, feedback should focused on the learner's knowledge (aka the assignment being reviewed) in relation to the stated assignment and course objectives. Second, feedback must be objective and based on evidence. Third, feedback must identify alternative positive behaviors for the learner to utilize.

While providing feedback guidelines is a great start, it is still a good idea to monitor the feedback steam for two common dangers. First, it has been found that peer review among learners who know each other tends to be too gentle and generally nonconstructive. And second, on the opposite end of the spectrum sometimes, even with guidelines, feedback comments are completely wrong, inaccurate, insensitive, or purposefully hurtful.