The Power of Peer Feedback

Does the use of the Internet in any way contribute to a student’s learning process, and if yes, what added value does this represent? This question is what lies at the heart of this dissertation. The current work focuses on Virtual Action Learning (VAL), a new educational concept that was designed and developed to include a specific learning process.

The research was executed in two stages. The first involved Design Based Research that encompassed projects involving students and teachers from a number of Dutch universities. The second stage took place, when the validated measurement instruments were used to investigate the learning processes of students who had embarked on a six-month course in a VAL environment.

Our findings show that students who give and appreciate more peer feedback in VAL environments are most likely to achieve better learning outcomes. Giving peer feedback seems to be the accelerator of the learning process that is only possible if supported by ICT, which allows students to provide and receive feedback at any time of the day.

The outcome of our investigations can be formulated as follows:

  • A well-founded educational concept, VAL, with a learning process that is firmly embedded within theory;
  • Two valid instruments which can measure the progress and the results of the learning process;
  • Peer feedback has a positive relationship with the progress of the learning process and with the results as perceived by the students and the school.