Online tutoring – how to collect feedback

An essential part of the online tutoring process is the evaluation of the educational experience. Some people don’t know how to monitor the success of their students. The article gives you clarity on how to give and receive feedback that would make your evaluation effective. You’ll be able to use the suggested methods and tips to create a dialogue, to boost self-reflection, to measure satisfaction, and to identify best practices.

Why feedback matters

\E-learning is not only about being an online tutor. It also requires a good plan and an even better execution. One part of the process in the virtual classroom is the meaningful presence of the teacher, while another is the evaluation of the planned educational experience.

Before you start

The first step in receiving feedback is to provide it yourself. Constructive criticism is equally useful for both teachers and students. Therefore, make sure you set the right objectives.

Connect the feedback to the online tutoring goals. Let the online students know what the procedure will be and how it impacts their learning experience.

Another important step is to identify the weaknesses and strengths of your online tutoring practice. You don’t have to be perfect, but it is highly recommended if you want to improve yourself in the virtual classroom.

Try to develop a clear system for collecting feedback. This includes knowing your audience and the communication preferences that they may have.

The main purpose of collecting feedback is to:

  • Enhance the students’ learning experience
  • Contribute and monitor
  • Deliver high-quality online training
  • Start a dialogue with the students
  • Motivate the students in the virtual classroom
  • Track student progress
  • Evaluate your work as an online tutor
  • Set relevant online tutoring goals
  • Smoothly introduce new online tutoring practices and methods

Define your goals

So you already know the importance and the purpose of collecting feedback. Next is to identify your primary goals. In other words, you must have a clear idea about what you want to achieve. Identifying your goals will give you the opportunity to determine how you want to gather the feedback and who you will ask. Take time and think about what went well during your online tutoring practice. Also, set some objectives that you want to change for the next year.

Defining your goals will reflect on how to:

  • Ask the right questions
    Depending on what you want to achieve, you may prefer to use written forms for the feedback. Surveys with closed-ended questions will allow for quicker turnaround. On the other hand, open-ended questions add a personal approach and may also provide better perspective and reveal unexpected points of view. Include particular aspects of your online tutoring practice to be evaluated.
  • Use different kinds of focus groups
    The feedback from different groups will give you ideas about different aspects of your practice. Selecting numerous focus groups will provide student feedback for both individual and group sessions.
  • Perform online surveys
    This method will make it easier for your online students when providing feedback. As this method uses anonymous forms, it can eliminate the discomfort of leaving a negative opinion. Furthermore, they can boost e-learner confidence and allow them to respond much more honestly. You can use Google forms, Evernote, or another preferred tool.

Tips on collecting feedback from your online students

Choose the right feedback platform
The preferred platform should be intuitive and familiar. Choose the easiest one for the students to complete. If you think that a more complicated tool will suit you better, consider a brief tutorial session for the e-learners. Thus you will eliminate the chance to be left without answers to your questions. Additionally, you will not bore or annoy your group. You can even ask your audience about the form that they prefer. If your students are dedicated Facebook users, for example, you can create a survey, a closed group, or a dedicated page for your purposes.

Encourage learners to participate
One of the most direct and effective ways to receive feedback is to provide learners with online questionnaires. You can motivate the participants by pointing out how important the feedback is. Additionally, make them aware of the way these results will impact the learning process in the future. Hopefully, the learners will be engaged and motivated to participate. Pay additional attention to the new students who can give you an honest opinion and a different perspective.

Keep it short, simple, and straightforward
You know that in the virtual classroom attention is the key to success. So don’t make your students spend more than 5-10 minutes on your survey. The more clear, short, and straightforward your questionnaire is, the greater the chance that you will gain additional information. Keep your questions relevant and detail oriented – try not to just scratch the surface by only using general questions.

Use different forms to collect feedback
Insight about your online tutoring may come not only from a specific survey, but also from the assessments and quizzes that you give. Therefore, integrate different feedback practices. You can choose to perform a lesson analysis instead of a survey if your class failed an exam. Feedback from a particular session or subject is as important as the overall evaluation of your course or year.

Clear your target
The target of your feedback can vary as your main goals change. Depending on the results you want to achieve after the feedback, select the proper audience. It can be individual students, groups, or even other online tutors. Other online educators are a great source of recommendations and ideas for your own practice.

Select your target for the specific aspects of your survey. Thus you can personalize the questions and receive more effective feedback.

Mind the timing
There are no rules about when feedback shall be requested. End of module questionnaires are often used. The problem is that they only pertain to a certain group. A mid-semester feedback questionnaire might also be useful for programs with larger enrollment. The problem here is what comes after the survey. If your questionnaire is too long, the learners won’t be focused enough for the last part of the session. Then you can ask for advice from your online learning community or an experienced colleague that you trust.

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Tanya Ilieva has strong experience in journalism, advertising, creative copywriting and digital marketing. She has a PhD in Graphic design from Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication in Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. Some of her creative works in advertising has been rewarded both in Bulgaria and abroad. Her fields of interest include: philosophy of language, semiotics, visual metaphors, linguistic.
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