Narrowing the Feedback Gap: Examining Student Engagement with Personalized and Actionable Feedback Messages

Hamideh Iraj, Anthea Fudge, Huda Khan, Margaret Faulkner, Abelardo Pardo, Vitomir Kovanović

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


<p>One of the major factors affecting student learning is feedback. Although the importance of feedback has been recognized in educational institutions, dramatic changes - such as bigger class sizes and a more diverse student population - challenged the provision of effective feedback. In light of these changes, educators have increasingly been using new digital tools to provide student feedback, given the broader adoption and availability of these new technologies. However, despite these efforts, most educators have limited insight into the recipience of their feedback and wonder which students engage with feedback. This problem is referred to as the "feedback gap," which is the difference between the potential and actual use of feedback, preventing educators and instructional designers from understanding feedback recipience among students. In this study, a set of trackable call-to-action (CTA) links were embedded in feedback messages focused on learning processes and self-regulation of learning in one fully online marketing course and one blended bioscience course. These links helped us examine the association between feedback engagement and course success. We also conducted two focus groups with students from one of the courses to further examine student perceptions of feedback messages. Our results across both courses revealed that early engagement with feedback is positively associated with passing the course and that most students considered feedback messages helpful in their learning. Our study also found some interesting demographic differences between students regarding their engagement with the feedback messages. Such insight enables instructors to ask "why" questions, support students' learning, improve feedback processes, and narrow the gap between potential and actual use of feedback. The practical implications of our findings are further discussed.</p>
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-116
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Learning Analytics
Issue number3
Early online date5 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

The authors declared no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article


  • feedback
  • learning analysitics
  • higher education
  • feedback gap
  • data-driven approaches


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