Feedback is the essence of learning

How exactly can the iPad enhance learning?

If you look on Twitter you’ll find that almost everyday there are a plethora of tweets which tackle this question and it seems that for every positive proposal there’s bound to be a counter argument of some sort or another.

In this blog and the accompanying video, I am going to offer one small but I hope not insignificant example of how I believe the use of the iPad (or other mobile devices) can enhance learning. This is through the use of an activity which personalises learning and provides instant feedback to the learner so that she can progress on her learning journey at her own pace and in complete control. She can manipulate the resource as she wishes; she can review content that she is unsure of and she can develop strategies and tactics to help her in tackling (potentially) challenging multiple choice questions.

The methodology used in this example is based on the premise that written feedback is more effective for the learner than numerical scores. The idea being, that for every question a pupil gets right she receives feedback as to why the response is correct and similarly, for every question she gets wrong she also receives feedback as to why her response was incorrect. To my mind this is far more valuable than just receiving a score of 1 out of 1 or 0 out of 1 depending upon which response the learner gives. I would argue that this process strengthens the learning experience considerably and I have seen my own pupils benefit hugely from using these resources. The emphasis here is on feedback being the essence of effective learning.

I made these PowerPoint resources a few years ago and used them on PCs when (and if) I was able to get my classes into the computer rooms at school (which wasn’t very often). However, since Microsoft have made the PowerPoint app available on the app store (for free), my students have been able to make great use of these multiple choice PowerPoint slides on their individual iPads (wherever, whenever) to develop their knowledge and understanding of the key concepts involved in the various topics in GCSE Physical Education.