Instructional DesignOpinion

A Lesson Learned About Feedback

Judy Bartkowiak quote

“Feedback needs to be given in the spirit of curiosity and respect for the other person’s map of the world.”

– Judy Bartkowiak

I remember failing spectacular at every part of this quote, so please take Judy’s advice.

Just over 20 years ago I had developed a two day Instructional Design (ID) course that was offered to in-house staff in a very large organisation.

The first time I ran the course I failed big time. Each participant had to bring a sample of their work to be evaluated. None of them had a background in ID and that’s what they were there to learn.

What did I do? On the morning of the first day, I went through each sample and pointed out all the stuff that was wrong – to the whole class! Then I spent the next day and a half telling them how they should have done it.

Arrogant. Idiot. I basically alienated the whole class. I did learn from my mistake – and their feedback. I only did that once. Once was enough.

I reversed the course completely and taught theory first, with examples. The afternoon of the second day, they presented their own sample and provided commentary.

It became the best most enjoyable part of the course for everyone. They laughed at their own mistakes and warned us, ‘Oh! It get’s worse.’ Now that they had learned something, they could spot the faults without me having to say a word, except of encouragement.

Lesson learned.

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