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What is Feedback? Definition of feedback in Communication:

Process in which the effect or output of an action is 'returned'

(fed-back) to modify the next action. Feedback is essential to the working and survival of all
regulatory mechanisms found throughout living and non-living nature, and in man-made systems
such as education system and economy. As a two-way flow, feedback is inherent to all
interactions, whether human-to-human, human-to-machine, or machine-to-machine. In an
organizational context, feedback is the information sent to an entity (individual or a group) about
its prior behavior so that the entity may adjust its current and future behavior to achieve the

Providing effective feedback is critical to maintaining a capable

workforce. A main component of the feedback process is acquiring accurate information to fuel
feedback decisions. Obtaining relevant data and feedback from credible sources as well as
enhancing the validity of the feedback by gathering information from multiple sources is critical
to this process.

What is Feedback: The observation of the receiver’s response is called feedback. In other words,
the part of the receiver’s response communicated back to the sender is called feedback. Actually
it is the amount of response of the receiver that reaches to the sender. It enables the sender to
evaluate the effectiveness of the message. Some definitions on feedback are given below-

According to Bartol & Martin, “Feedback is the receiver’s basic response to the interpreted

In the opinion of Bovee & Others, “Feedback is a response from the receiver that informs the
sender how the communication is being received in general”.
What is Feedback

From the discussion, we can say that feedback is a system where the reaction or response of the
receiver reaches to the sender after he has interpreted the message. Feedback is inevitably
essential to make two way communication effective. In fact, without feedback in
communication remains incomplete.

Why Feedback is Essential for effective Communication

Feedback is the response or reaction of the receiver after perceiving or understanding the
message. It enables the sender to evaluate the effectiveness of the message. It is inevitably
essential in case of two-way communication. Without feedback, two way communication is
either ineffective or incomplete. Feedback is the only way to gain receiver’s response and
depending on the feedback, sender can tack further steps. In organizational or business
communication the feedback process is extremely important. However the necessity or
importance of feedback is discussed below from different viewpoints:

Collection of Information: Feedback is the only way to collect information from the receiver, if
the receiver doesn’t send message of information (Feedback) to the sender, there is no way to
collect information from him. So, feedback helps the organization (Sender) to collect information
from different people (Receivers).
Completion of Entire Communication Process: Feedback is the last and important step of
communication process. Through feedback, the sender can learn the reaction or response of the
receiver. It is an essential step of communication without which communication process is
incomplete. So, in two-way communication feedback is mandatory.

Measuring the Effectiveness of Communication: Feedback is the only way to get the response
or reaction of the receiver. From it, the sender knows how well his message is understood and
how it will be used by the receiver. By analyzing the reaction, positive or negative, the sender of
the message can measure to what extent communication is effective and what are the limitations
with it. So, in two-way communication feedback is the only way to assess the success of

Improving Labor-Management Relationship: A good labor-management relationship is a must

for smooth functioning of organizational activities. If management believes in Two Way
Communication system and permits the employees to express their feelings, reactions and
opinions on various matters, they will be highly satisfied. So, Management should seek feedback
from employees on different issues and at the same time they should provide feedback to
employees. This practice will help management to create a congenial atmosphere in the
organization that is essential for organizational success. So, Feedback helps to establish a healthy
labor-management relationship in the organization.

Measuring the Effectiveness of Media: We use different type of media to transmit messages.
The receiver gets the message by the media and understands its meaning. If receiver sends his
feedback to the sender, it means that the media are appropriate. Improper media cannot reach the
message to the receiver and thus fails to produce any Feedback. So, Feedback can be used as a
criterion of Effectiveness of Media.

Taking proper Decision: Feedback helps the sender to take proper decision. If the receiver does
not send his reaction or response on certain issue, the sender cannot decide on it. For example,
sometimes manager sends plans and decision or policies to the subordinates for their appraisal. If
the subordinates send their options, suggestion, complaints, reaction to the managers, they can
take better decisions. So, Feedback helps the managers to take proper and quality decisions.
Problem Solving: Different types of problems may arise in an organization that must be solved
duly and timely. Two Way Communication helps to address the problem and provide solution to
the problem. For Example, if employees of an organization call for strike from the day after
tomorrow it their due salary is not paid by tomorrow. After receiving the message, management
of the organization decides to meet their demand but doesn’t inform the employees. Problem will
decide to meet their demand but doesn’t inform the employees. Problem will remain, as the
feedback of the management could not reach to the employees.

Coordination among Various Departments: There are many departments working in an

organization to achieve the super-ordinate goals of the organization. For the smooth functioning
of the activities, these departments must coordinate and cooperate with each other. For
coordination, each department must contact with other and send back response to any query of
other departments. So, Feedback is essentially required for bringing coordination among

Getting the Reactions of Receiver: Through feedback the sender can get the responses or
reactions of the receiver of his message. From the response, the sender responses, the sender can
assess how well the receiver has understood his message and if there is any clarification to be

From the above discussion, we can say that feedback plays an important role in two way
business communication. It is essential for the completion of whole communication system. In
real sense, it is the essence of two way communication. So, What is Feedback? Feedback is
inevitable for successful communication. Its importance can never be ignored or undermined.

Types Of Feedback That Help You Boost Student Engagement

Steve Jobs once said “My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to take these great people we
have and to push them and make them even better”. Educators strive to do the same thing by
providing learners with meaningful feedback that extends and develops their thinking. However,
in an online course, feedback does more than just push learners’ thinking; it also plays a critical
role in shaping how students engage with course content, the instructor, and their classmates.
9 Effective Types of Feedback

1. Appreciation.
Appreciation is the key to opening the “feedback door.” Thanking
students for submitting their work acknowledges and validates their time spent learning
something new. Appreciation comments do not have to be drawn out to have a positive
impact. They can be as simple as “thank you for sharing this awesome
(idea/question/thought) with us.“ Receiving a positive, appreciative comment at the
outset, students are more likely to feel respected and engage with any additional feedback
you provide.

2. Sayback.
Sayback involves restating what learners said. This shows
learners that you read their posts and lets them know that they are on the right track.
Often, the best way to start a sayback comment is with an “I agree” or some other
appreciative statement. For example, “I agree [participant name] that this video applies
all of Mayer's principles. I thought they were going to fall short in the redundancy
principle and the voice would read the thought bubble at the end... I waited for it... no
voice! They nailed it! Good find.”

3. Links to resources.

Sharing a link to a resource extends learning beyond the course

content and introduces learners to new information, ideas, perspectives, and digital tools.
For example, one of our course facilitators introduced a participant to a new creative
commons resource by writing the following: “There is a big push for a universal visual
language to help connect people around the world speaking different languages. I get a lot
of mileage from the icons being created for The Noun Project in my work,” and the
participant replied, “Thanks for the resource, +[facilitator] I'll make sure to check it out.”

4. Questions.
Asking a question is a good way to engage learners in
conversations about their work. While answering questions, learners often reflect on the
process of their work, which brings their comprehension into a deeper level. Questions
can serve many purposes when providing feedback. They can be used to clarify the
learners’ thinking (e.g., “What did you mean by…”), to make the learning process more
transparent (e.g., “Why did you...”), to inspire students to think about their work in a
different way (e.g., “Have you considered looking at the topic from this perspective?”), to
expand the learner's’ knowledge or skills (e.g., “Have you considered exploring...”), and
to encourage learners to make changes to their work (e.g., “Have you thought about

5. Providing next steps.

Providing next steps is a way to let learners know what else they can
do to improve their work and, looking ahead, to acquire greater knowledge and hone their
skills. For example, one of our course facilitators wrote, “I also suggest you add some
sound effects to grab the attention of the listener,” to help a participant figure out how to
improve her video project.

6. Providing guidance.

Providing guidance is a way to scaffold student learning. This can

be done by offering a suggestion, sharing advice, or providing insights that encourage
students to reach just beyond what they think they are capable of doing. When providing
guidance, it’s best to start with “I” (e.g., “I suggest”). Starting with “you” (e.g., “You
should”) often tends to make learners feel defensive and they are less likely to respond.
Here is an example from one of our course facilitators: "If you do decide to make this
into a poster for a pointing reminder, I would suggest using less text. You could go over
the steps in greater detail to introduce it, but for the poster, I would use short bullet points
in a larger font so it could be used as a reference from afar."

7. Sharing personal experiences.

Nothing links students and facilitators like shared

experiences. It says “Hey...I’ve been there!” to the student and helps foster a relationship
of mutual respect. Besides increasing the sense of connection, sharing personal
experiences makes the feedback feel more authentic and meaningful. Students want to
learn from real world experiences. For example, one facilitator commented, “It would be
awesome to see students work in groups with a Google Document and all team members
adding and editing together. We facilitators actually do this often when collaborating on
this course design and maintenance. It's really effective!”

8. Facilitators connecting learners.

Connecting learners encourages social learning, which enriches

the course community and the learning process. Connecting participants can be done
many different ways, depending on the tools you have available. In our course Google+
Community, we used Plus mentions to directly involve learners in conversations (e.g.,
“+Mr. T is supporting his district with a Chromebook rollout - you might want to connect
with him for ideas/advice”).

9. Providing encouragement.

Sometimes learners just need a few positive words of

encouragement (e.g., “You can do it!”) that show them you are invested in and support
their learning. Providing encouragement often rekindles learners’ enthusiasm for an
assignment or project and motivates them to keep improving their work. For example,
one of our course facilitators provided words of encouragement by saying, “Keep on
going, we’re rooting for you!” and the participant responded with, “I did decide to create
a pre-assignment survey using a Google template. Thanks for the encouragement!”

These 9 types of feedback can be, and in many cases should be, mixed and matched and, thus,
used in a variety of ways to boost student engagement. For example, you might start with an
appreciative comment, suggest a resource, and then ask a question to push the learner’s thinking.
Or, you could open with a personal experience and then connect participants, encouraging them
to help one another think about the content in different ways.
One of the most challenging aspects of facilitating an online course is figuring out which unique
combination of feedback types can enhance each student’s learning process and motivate the
student to engage with the class. We encourage you to test out one or more of these feedback
types for an upcoming assignment to see which ones work best for your students and your
course. You never know what will ignite that spark!