Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

How Powerful Is Feedforward in University Education? A Case Study in Romanian Geography Education on Increasing Learning Efficiency

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

How Powerful Is Feedforward in University Education? A Case Study in Romanian Geography Education on Increasing Learning Efficiency

Article excerpt

Theoretical Background

Professors in the Romanian university system plan and organize their activities under the assumption that their students have the subject-specific competences mentioned in the school curricula for the geography class in the pre-university education system or from previous years of university studies. In reality, these students do not have all these competences developed at a superior level, and this is the reason they have difficulties when solving tasks. Frequently, professors notice this situation rather late, after students' involvement in the learning process. At this point, professors cannot change any results and are only able to offer feedback (Cathcart, Greer, & Neale, 2014).

In order to prevent students from failing and to fill in the gap between students' necessary knowledge or the competences that professors expect and the real ones that professors actually use, there are diverse educational tools beside the ones from their pedagogical discourse: tests, questionnaires, checklists, worksheets, study guides, instructions, protocols, tutorials, examples, glossaries, and so on. When planning activities and educational tools, professors should anticipate students' problems when learning and should find appropriate ways to formatively intervene. In order to solve the problem by increasing students' success rate and diminishing failure, this study looked for the best educational mechanisms and tools for professors to use during their students' learning process during courses and seminars as well as apart from these formal activities, not after students have finished learning. Some researchers consider feedforward to be such a prevention mechanism (Baker & Zuvela, 2013; Cathcart et al., 2014; Goldsmith, 2008), but opinions about how to use it differ (Duncan, 2007; Gibbs & Simpson, 2004; Hernández, 2012; Koen, Bitzer, & Beets, 2012; Murtagh & Baker, 2009).

During activities, professors often empirically use both feedback and feedforward. In opposition to feedback, feedforward is a controversial subject that has been paid little attention in educational research. So that professors are able to use feedforward from a scientific perspective, this study performs an exploratory research by finding proof for the use of feedforward in comparison with feedback; it also utilizes a quasi-experimental research to test certain tools with a feedforward role. Direct observation, documents, and findings were observed in order to draw a series of theoretical conclusions about feedforward.

Understanding and explaining feedforward has been enabled through a series of studies on feedback that focused on presenting the concept (Hattie & Timperley, 2007; Higgins, Hartley, & Skelton, 2001; Lyster & Ranta, 1997), its importance during learning (Brown, 2004; Brown, Harris, & Harnett, 2012; Clarke, 2003; Hattie & Timperley, 2007; Pajares & Graham, 1998), the receiver (Higgins et al., 2001; Irving, Harris, & Peterson, 2011; Wiggins, 2004), the feedback source (Brown et al., 2012; Peterson & Irving, 2008; Topping, 2010), administration conditions (Brown et al., 2012; Hattie & Timperley, 2007), the moment of giving feedback (Hattie & Timperley, 2007), the methods of giving it (Koen et al., 2012), typology (Fink, 2007; Harris, Brown, & Harnett, 2014; Hattie & Timperley, 2007; Irving et al., 2011; Mori, 2011; Murtagh & Baker, 2009; Shute, 2008), its impact (Brown, 2004; Gibbs & Simpson, 2004; Koen et al., 2012), and its efficiency (Akalin & Sucuoglu, 2015; Hattie & Timperley, 2007; Irving et al., 2011; Shute, 2008; Topping, 2010).

The neurosciences have frequently researched feedforward using feedforward to trigger: visually selective behavior (Van Rullen & Koch, 2003), the learning capability and storage capacity of feedforward networks (Huang, 2003), and the changes in feedforward postural adjustments following voluntary motor training (Tsao & Hodges, 2007). …

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