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Education Enhancement Funds

The LeapForward Project

Dr Sheena Warman was the lead academic on her project, ‘LeapForward’, for which she was awarded a Catalyst Fund from BILT for 2017/18. The project summary and conclusions can be found below – if you would like to view the full report please contact the BILT team.

Project Summary

The LeapForward project aimed to evaluate and improve feedback and feedforward practices within undergraduate Health Sciences programmes (BVSc Veterinary Science, MBChB Medicine, BDS Dentistry), MSc Social Work, and BA Theatre and Performance Studies – a truly interdisciplinary approach. We have focused on student transitions, particularly that from classroom to workplace-based learning environments. 

The overall aims and objectives of our research were to: 

  • Explore the impact of current feedback and feedforward practices 
  • Identify priorities for improvement in feedforward in supporting students’ self-regulatory workplace skills 
  • Develop a novel feedforward intervention/resource relevant across diverse disciplines 
  • Identify what different disciplines can learn from each other’s practice 

In Phase 1 of the project we explored the impact of current feedback and feedforward processes and practices, by collating existing resources and running ten focus groups, talking to groups of students and staff from each discipline (in separate groups) about their experiences.  Analysis of the staff and student focus groups enabled us to identify twelve overall themes, clustered into three overarching categories, which illuminate the student and staff experience of feedback and feedforward across the different disciplines, in the Bristol context.  

In Phase 2, we built on the earlier findings to design and develop a modular training package for both students and staff which is intended to support students in their development of self-regulatory workplace skills and provide new feedforward interventions which have the potential to be applicable more widely across the university. 

 Conclusions

  • Interdisciplinary approach: there are similarities as well as differences in practices and experiences of feedback and feedforward and both are instructive in understanding feedback and feedforward processes at the University of Bristol  
  • The interdisciplinary nature of the project means that both Phase 1 findings and Phase 2 training packages developed can potentially be applied widely across the University to both Students and Staff, and that there are consistent messages for both parties in the feedback /feedforward dialogue. 
  • Student and Staff ‘Feedback Literacy’ is similar, however, for maximum overall benefit, both groups can be supported to move through ‘literacy’, via ‘capacity’ and ‘managing affect’ to ‘action’ (Carless and Boud, 2018) on a consistent and agreed trajectory. 

 

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