Feedback in interaction with technologies

Feedback is an integral part of learning. The valuable “aha!” is the moment when we realize something or we track down what we need to fix. However, not only people can give us feedback. Feedback is not only something that takes place at the end of a class or after handing in a test.  

Interactivity is something we appreciate about digital technologies. In interactivity, we can find another valuable source of feedback that will help us move forward. In an ideal case, this happens in a “personalized” manner, i.e. in a way that’s tailored to our needs.  

What does this look like in practice?  

Let’s say you want to perfect your writing in English. Here you can use an application like GrammarlyYou insert your written text in English into Grammarly and get feedback on it. The application will “read” your text and highlight the areas that it thinks are suspicious. You then have to go through its suggestions and measure up whether they are justified or not. Furthermore, every suggestion contains reasons and a description of the phenomenon in English. If, for example, you’ve written the article “the” instead of “an”, the application will explain what the difference between them is. You’ve just received tailored feedback and are learning from your mistakes.  

There’s one more interesting thing here. With this application and similar ones that use neural networks (artificial intelligence), the learning is mutual, i.e. the application also learns from you. How does this work? It’s you who decide whether it’s really appropriate to exchange “an” for “the”. The application will remember your decision in the context of the given sentence. Next time, when someone uses a similar sentence in the application, its recommendations will be more exact.  

Other applications such asDuolingo, Coach presenteror the Hemingway app work in a similar manner.   

But, much simpler tools can also give you feedback. These are typically tools for verifying knowledge and include applications likeQuizletwhich can test you using flashcards. This can also be a common quiz in aGoogle formwhere you can choose from different answers.  

It’s good to find tools for yourself that develop the areas you need to improve in. At the same time, we should be careful not to end up with simple memorization and drills while using technologies. Tools that are able to react to creative tasks are therefore more valuable. By using them, deeper learning can take place.  

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