Main Article Content
Personalised, understandable and balanced feedback is well documented as having a transformational influence upon the academic, professional and personal learning of learners. However, an emerging literature base suggests traditional forms of written feedback may fail to sufficiently engage and empower high numbers of modern-day higher education students. In recent times, academics have been encouraged to consider alternative ways of producing and delivering high-quality feedback which addresses assessment marking criteria, indicates how well students are understanding new material, recommends how future performance may be acted upon and improved, provides constructive criticism when necessary, plus strengthens students’ capacities to self-regulate their own work. Over the past decade, across wide-ranging HE disciplines, university student cohorts have warmly embraced receiving audio feedback as an effective way for providing expert guidance, justifying grades, enhancing motivation to learn confidently and autonomously plus feeding forward. However, current understanding regards its effectiveness in nurturing student achievement is based predominantly upon research employing descriptive quantitative methodologies with full-time undergraduate cohorts. Distinctive aspects of this unique study, focusing on work-based postgraduate sports students, include going beyond simplistically evaluating if audio was considered “superior” or “inferior” than traditional written feedback. Employing semi-structured qualitative interviews, this study explored initial emotional-responsiveness, resulting satisfaction and engagement plus consequent impact upon professional-practice of eight part-time postgraduate sport coaching students who received audio feedback for the first time during the final year of a sport coaching Masters degree at a North of England University. Findings provide evidence to inform future feedback policy that may be more appropriate for meeting the academic capabilities, needs and motivations of future work-based postgraduate cohorts. Recommendations and guidelines for supporting the re-tooling and professional development needs of academic and support staff across the sector are also presented.
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