Indian Institute of Technology Bombay,
Research on feedback practices in education has a history of more than a century. Across this history, feedback has been predominantly viewed as a one-way transmission of information from teacher, computer or peers to the learners. Such information was aimed at addressing learners’ immediate instructional or motivational needs rather than trying to enable them to become proficient in seeking, judging and utilizing feedback from diverse community sources. Hence there is a lack of studies investigating conditions under which learners proactively seek feedback to attain the given instructional goals or when and how such feedback seeking contributes to better learning. In my study I operationalize feedback seeking behavior as a learner-initiated dialogue to accomplish the given instructional goals. I investigate learners’ feedback seeking behavior during a representational task in stereochemistry. This task required learners to go beyond just verbal exchange of feedback and build complex molecular models or sketch multi perspective diagrams while seeking or providing feedback. For the purpose of analysis, I have adapted a well-established cost-value framework of feedback seeking behavior from organizational behavior research. Here I take a socio-cultural stance where dialogic interactions amongst peers, teachers and the mediating tools or conditions in the instructional environment are considered as central to the learners’ feedback seeking process. So, the adaptation closely aligns with the cultural historical activity theoretical approach to Human learning. Using this framework, I examine and describe how the interaction between characteristics of instructional artefacts and rules, the learner, feedback sources and the nature of cooperation influence learners’ perceptions of cost and value in seeking feedback. Preliminary findings suggest that learners’ cost-value analysis influences the various aspects of feedback seeking such as the timing or amount of feedback seeking, the purpose for which feedback is sought, the choice of feedback source and also the mode of seeking and using the feedback received. Some of the outcomes of learners’ feedback seeking behavior were observed to align with that of representational competence such as gaining understanding of when and how to use models or diagram translation. Nature of my findings hold promise in potentially informing the design of instructional contexts for supporting development of both learners’ proficiency in feedback seeking and their representational competence.