INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT FOR PEER FEEDBACK

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CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW

INTRODUCTION

The first part of this review outlines three of the major learning perspectives that frame research in feedback, and it draws on key studies to illustrate how different assumptions about learning and learners can influence the way feedback is construed and incorporated into the teaching and learning process. This first section also addresses the changing conceptions of learning and their relation to an expanded view of feedback for learning. This sets the scene for the second part of the review, which adopts Hattie and Timperley‘s (2007) feedback model as a theoretical framework to explore and explicate the nature and quality of peer feedback.
The second part of the review addresses research in peer learning, collaborative learning, peer assessment, and peer review, which incorporates elements of peer feedback in educational contexts. Central to this review is the notion that instructional support, which takes into consideration scaffolding through explicit prompting and coaching, may enhance peer feedback quality and effectiveness.
Following this, the literature on students‘ science learning through investigations is reviewed. This provides the context for the empirical studies in this investigation. Importantly, the feedback model is seen as relevant in this context because students‘ learning about investigations involves understanding at the task, process, and self-regulation levels, and engaging students in peer feedback discourse at these three levels may influence their learning during investigations

THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES ON LEARNING AND THEIR RELATION TO FEEDBACK

Feedback can serve different functions depending on the particular learning perspective under which it is viewed and the underlying assumptions about the learning context on which research in these areas are based. The first section of the review outlines three major philosophical perspectives—objectivism, information processing, and sociocultural theory—that provide the frameworks for describing different views of learning and thus, the nature of feedback (see Table 1).

Objectivism

Objectivism takes the view that ―reliable knowledge about the world‖ exists (Jonassen, 1991, p. 8) and instruction based on this assumption is seen as predominantly ‗receptive-transmission‘ (Askew & Lodge, 2000). From an epistemological view, objectivism is a mirror image or reality created by the mind and these representations of the real world constitute the way of knowing (Lakoff, 1987). The paradigm of behaviourism adopts this objectivist perspective and earlier feedback studies have examined feedback within this philosophical viewpoint (Mory, 2004).
From a behaviourist perspective, learning is viewed as conditioning where behaviour that is followed by a reinforcer will increase in frequency or probability (e.g., Skinner‘s operant conditioning). Learning is seen as a process of reinforcing knowledge acquired in a sequenced and hierarchical fashion, and learning tasks can be preplanned, organized, and programmed with specific outcomes defined. The learning task is analysed to identify the components that must be acquired in order to complete the task and the most appropriate sequence of learning is prescribed based on observable learning outcomes. Feedback is usually seen as reinforcement, helping the learner to progress from a hierarchy of simple to more complex task performance. The objectivist roots are evident, with feedback provided from an external source (usually from the teacher who is viewed as an expert) in order to match an external learning outcome to the learner‘s current observable performance on the prescribed task. The dominant feedback discourse is one of receptive-transmission (Askew & Lodge, 2000) and a prevalent view of feedback is that it serves as a motivator or incentive for increasing response rate and/or accuracy (Kulhavy & Wager, 1993).
A classical example of this instructional approach is the programmed instruction of the 1960s —depending on the answer to a question the student is directed to remediation or to more difficult questions. Although it can be argued that feedback as reinforcement is beneficial to novice learners on new learning tasks, its effects are limited and at times confusing (Kulhavy & Wager, 1993). The focus on incentives may distract learners from the instructional content of feedback and results in little effort used to interpret feedback for learning (Kulhavy & Wager, 1993). Anderson and his colleagues (1972) found that students usually bypass the feedback if the answer is readily available in the learning task and when feedback is provided prior to completion of the task, students,,tend to copy their answers from the feedback instead of processing the feedback information meaningfully. This finding points to the importance of feedback as a ―consequence‖ of performance, and not provided before completion of any learning task.
The view that feedback serves as a motivator or incentive for learning is still prevalent in the classrooms of today and there remains a perpetual confusion by teachers between praise and content-related feedback (Hattie & Timperley, 2007). Deci, Koestner, and Ryan (2001) found that when teachers provide tangible rewards as a form of feedback, intrinsic motivation is significantly undermined and students are less inclined to take responsibility for motivating or regulating themselves. Feedback in the form of extrinsic rewards often led students to place more emphasis on incentives, which result in greater surveillance, evaluation and competition, rather than enhanced engagement of learning. Kulhavy and Wager (1993) suggested that motivational variables be separated from feedback messages, in order to focus on the instructional content of feedback

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Information Processing Perspective

The information-processing perspective of learning may be seen as a transition phase from behaviourism to socioculturalism and represents a shift in emphasis from an external view towards an internal view. An important feature of information-processing theories is that they recognize the cognitive ability of individuals to use information actively when engaging with the learning task. This suggests that feedback functions not only to reinforce correct answers but also as corrective information to help learners to correct their errors. The feedback-as-information position asserts that correction and analysis of errors is a crucial component of learning and feedback acts as verification of a learner‘s response certitude or level of certainty (Kulhavy & Stock, 1989).
Kulhavy and Stock‘s (1989) response certitude model, for example, suggested that instructional feedback messages contain two important components: verification and elaboration. Verification is a dichotomous judgment to indicate that a response is right or wrong. Elaboration is the component of the feedback message which contains relevant information to help the learner in error correction. Feedback elaboration can be classified based on the type of information included: (a) task specific, (b) instruction-based, or (c) extra-instructional. Task-specific elaborations include restatement of the correct answer, or inclusion of multiple-choice alternatives as part of item feedback. Instruction-based elaborations provide explanations of why a certain response is correct, or re-present the instructional text in which the right answer was contained. Extra-instructional elaboration refers to the provision of new examples or analogies not found in the instructional text.
In this model, the feedback process is composed of three cycles, where each cycle involves an external stimulus, learner comparison of the input to a reference standard, followed by a resultant response. The first cycle describes the learner as comparing the perceived task demand against previous experience and evaluation of various response possibilities. The second cycle involves feedback processing by the learner. Here the learner‘s level of certainty (response certitude) is related to the discrepancy between perceived stimulus and reference standard results. According to Kulhavy and Stock (1989), when learners are certain their answer is correct (high certitude correct, with low discrepancy), they will spend little time analysing feedback, and verification feedback is sufficient. When learners are certain their answer is correct but it was in reality an incorrect response (high certitude correct, with high discrepancy), elaborate information in feedback is useful to the learner, who will spend more time reviewing feedback. For learners with low certitude responses, they would more likely to benefit from feedback that acts as new instruction. Cycle three involves the learner responding to the same task after processing the feedback, and the corrective feedback now leads to a correct response. Although this model is built around experimental testing environments that are unlike the typical classroom learning situation, it supports the notion of learner involvement in the feedback process and highlights the need for adaptive use of feedback information with consideration to learner characteristics, in this case, high or low confidence in responding to questions.
Taking things a step further, Bangert-Drowns et al. (1991) proposed the five-stage model of mindful feedback. This model suggests that feedback which encourages learners‘ mindful reflection is beneficial to learning. Although the model explicates the need for reflection on the part of the learner, the main focus of the text-based feedback is to change the current behavioural and cognitive state of the learner. For feedback to promote learning, it has to be designed to bring about mindfulness and to minimize mindlessness, such as providing feedback before learners begin their memory search for an answer.
Another feedback framework with an information processing perspective is the feedback intervention theory by Kluger and DeNisi (1996). This theory suggests that feedback intervention that focuses the learner on the learning task results in a larger learning gain than feedback that draws attention to the self, which can be detrimental to learning. Norm-referenced feedback comparing the individual‘s performance to lower achieving learners may, for example, encourage them to attribute poor performance to a lack of ability, leading to lower expectations in future performance and decreased motivation on future tasks. Kluger and DeNisi (1996) argued that there were three classes of variables which determined the effect of feedback on performance: the cues of the feedback message, the nature of the task performed, and situational and personality variables. Feedback can provide cues that capture a person‘s attention: the central assumption being that feedback information gets a person‘s attention, and that attention is hierarchical in nature.
Of the many goals of feedback, it certainly can direct attention to the processes to accomplish the task, provide information about erroneous hypotheses, and it can be intentionally be motivational so that students invest more effort or skill in the task. Feedback effectiveness decreases as attention moves up the hierarchy closer to the self and away from the task. Therefore, feedback that directs its attention to the meta-task goals may lead to disengagement from the task even when the feedback is positive. A major key to unlocking the power of feedback is to ensure cues are responsive to the task performed and concerned about the situational and personality attributes of the receiver.
Butler and Winne (1995) proposed an examination of feedback that takes into account how internal and external feedback affects self-regulated cognitive engagement with tasks and how different forms of engagement relate to achievement. They argued that feedback serves a multidimensional role in knowledge construction, which translates into a model involving self-regulation. This helps to extend the traditional view of feedback as predominantly seeking a set of correct responses, or as error-correction, to one in which feedback is a function of regulative cognitive processes of the learner and is both dependent on the outcome of self-regulated learning. Internal feedback is generated when self-regulated learners monitor the processes of task engagement (e.g., setting goals, applying strategies, or reviewing products of learning). This internal feedback provides information for the learner to regulate their task engagement and may be further influenced by external feedback, motivational beliefs, and affective reactions. When there is a perceived discrepancy between a current state and the desired goals, internal feedback allows the learner to decide whether to invest further effort, modify their plan, or abandon the task completely. The result of this cognitive monitoring and processing is the possible change in knowledge and beliefs, which in turn, might further influence subsequent self-regulation (Butler & Winne, 1995)

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION AND RESEARCH OVERVIEW 
BACKGROUND
PURPOSE OF THIS RESEARCH
AN OVERVIEW OF THE CHAPTERS
CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW 
INTRODUCTION
THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES ON LEARNING AND THEIR RELATION TO FEEDBACK
A FRAMEWORK FOR PEER FEEDBACK QUALITY  PEER FEEDBACK
INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT FOR PEER FEEDBACK
LEARNING SCIENCE IN THE LABORATORY—INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE
LEARNING SCIENCE IN THE LABORATORY—NEW ZEALAND (NZ) PERSPECTIVE
CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 3 STUDY ONE: EXPLORING THE ROLE OF PEER FEEDBACK IN PEER DISCOURSE DURING A CHEMISTRY INVESTIGATIVE TASK
INTRODUCTION
PEER DIALOGUE IN LEARNING SCIENCE
PURPOSE OF STUDY
METHODOLOGY
RESULTS
CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION
COMMENTS ON INSTRUMENTS AND LIMITATIONS .
IMPLICATIONS FOR THE NEXT STUDY
CHAPTER 4 STUDY TWO: THE EFFECTS OF PROMPTS ON FORMULATING PEER FEEDBACK IN CHEMISTRY INVESTIGATIVE TASK 
INTRODUCTION
FRAMING PEER FEEDBACK AND PROMPTING
AIM OF PRESENT STUDY
METHODOLOGY
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 5 STUDY THREE: THE EFFECTS OF EXPLICIT INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT ON FORMULATING PEER FEEDBACK AT TASK, PROCESS, AND SELF-REGULATION LEVELS 
INTRODUCTION
INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT AND PEER FEEDBACK
SUPPORTING PEER FEEDBACK ENGAGEMENT
METHODOLOGY
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 6 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS
INTRODUCTION
PEER FEEDBACK AS INTEGRAL TO A LEARNING CYCLE
IDENTIFY WHERE YOU ARE, KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING AND HOW BEST TO GET THERE
ENGAGING PEER FEEDBACK
PROGRESSIVE VIEW OF PEER FEEDBACK
PEERS AS FEEDBACK RESOURCE
IMPLICATIONS FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING
IMPLICATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH
CONCLUDING COMMENTS
REFERENCES
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