Feedback is said to be the food of champions, it’s a key to success practice, and an essential part of the educational process in any learner, this is why higher level performers in almost any field have develop the positive habit of actively looking for and accepting feedback and also doing this in a positive way.
One of the methods I used to learn about myself whilst using the feedback process was to watch videos of myself consulting, watching a video of oneself is probably one of the shortest feedback loops ever. There’s something about using videos as the catalyst for feedback that makes you feel exposed, on video there is nowhere for you to hide, in this way you are vulnerable and that is exactly why videos are an ideal way to learn how to give feedback as well as receive it.
Without feedback you’re in a vacuum but with feedback you can bridge the gap between your current skills and knowledge level and where you want to get to.
For the mature learner feedback can help you maximise your potential it can help you work on your strengths as well as identifying new ways that you can improve your weaknesses.
Feedback is also a tool that you can use with a teacher or a trainer to help you look through the Johari window to increase what you know and decrease what you don’t know you don’t know.
For feedback to be used as a positive learning experience and to empower growth in the learner it needs to be constructive, timely, valid, respectful and in a safe environment allowing the learner to do most of the talking.
The best feedback is positive, it tends to be based on fact, that is what has actually been observed and given in a non judgemental way. There are times when feedback shouldn’t always be sugar coated but where possible it should be given in a positive, respectful way.
At the heart of the feedback process should be a positive experience, because a positive experience is much more likely to lead to reflection in the learner, and reflection allows greater assimilation of the subject of the feedback, and reflection for that matter is exactly why I’m writing this article.
The important thing I have learned is that effective feedback is a skill that can be taught and practised, there are rules, methods and frameworks which make the feedback process structured and more likely to be effective. Additionally some of these feedback methods have a progressive goal orientated approach which focus the learner on how to improve their performance and to close the feedback loop.
In my profession feedback is at the heart of the medical education process and it is a fundamental clinical teaching tool which is exactly why so much time is spent training trainers how to to use it more effectively.
in my experience positive feedback is far better than endless teaching.