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Students' Perspectives on the Role of Peer Feedback in Supporting Learning

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There has been a considerable growth in research considering the role of peer feedback within higher education over the last 10 years (Gielen, Dochy, & Onghena, 2011). However, there are mixed opinions regarding what peer feedback involves and its value in relation to enhancing student learning outcomes. Furthermore, for those supporters of holistic assessment designs advocating greater student involvement and agency in the assessment process (Boud & Associates, 2010), there is a tension regarding the extent to which students should be required to participate in peer feedback activities (Nicol, 2008). In developing this argument, it is known that although peer feedback can be a positive experience for students (De Grez, Valcke, & Berings, 2010), impacts on learning can also be variable, reflecting the interplay of individual and contextual factors.

Adopting an interpretative phenomenological analysis approach, this article examines with students how they make sense of and use peer feedback opportunities. Informed by a personal learning styles pedagogy (PLSP; Evans & Waring, 2009, 2014), two peer feedback pedagogical interventions involving postgraduate students were implemented at two U.K. higher education institutions. Using a mixed methods approach, the role of individual and contextual variables in affecting students' perceptions of the value of peer feedback and the PLSP approach are explored. Informed by current peer feedback debates, recommendations to inform practice are made.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2015

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