Feedback in Dual Education

Dual education is a teaching-learning process that promotes the acquisition of skills through mindful learning and practice.

In this learning environment, assessment involves monitoring participants’ progress. In this way, by supervising their work and actions, we can help them to focus on their process and provide them with information on the next steps to take on their learning path.

William Iven picture from Unsplash

Feedback is a tool to enhance participants’ performance, as it allows them to increase self-awareness in their work. It also provides them with accurate information about those aspects they should maintain to achieve successful outcomes and those that should be changed, modified or eliminated because they do not add up to the desired results. 

However, feedback can be a particularly challenging tool when it comes to reviewing actions, both individual and as a team, if we are to move in the direction we have set out for ourselves. It risks becoming a form of assessment that fails to deal with reluctant participants and discuss difficulties in such a way that we can open ourselves to dialogue and influence and motivate participants to commit themselves.

Good feedback keeps the focus on growth. Yet it struggles to meet two conflicting needs: the need to learn and improve, and the need to be accepted as we are. We may risk turning feedback into criticism that causes recipients to adopt a self-defensive attitude.

Giving feedback requires developing the skills involved in difficult conversations, the ability to speak effectively and create a climate of psychological trust that can be easily perceived by people. We seek to provide effective feedback and create a climate of psychological trust. In fact, it will be effective if we manage to generate opportunities for participants. And it will be appropriate, if they can take that step now.

Imagen de Cottonbro de Pexels

Feedback must be well-planned and thoroughly prepared if we want it to be effective and generate learning. We need to  move beyond hierarchy and authority to build a dialogue based on trust and respect. Moreover, we should consider aspects such as the space we give the other person to speak, the emotional impact we generate, the purpose of the meeting and where we hold it. Additionally, other aspects should be considered, such as:

  • Offer truthful, verifiable and objective information.
  • Set the right tone. This avoids damaging a person’s self-esteem.
  • Provide an opportunity to create awareness of what is being done to turn it into learning.

While many aspects need to be considered to achieve the learning outcome, preparation can help to ensure that the meeting runs smoothly.

Efficient feedback

Keeping the following guidelines in mind can contribute to a more efficient feedback session:


1 – Prepare the meeting

logbook used by dual education participants, the submitted projects and challenges, the observed behaviours, etc., are the basis of the work report. A report that should cover four aspects: 

  • What we consider we should maintain or pursue.
  • Actions they take but where changes should be made to improve efficiency
  • Points for improvement that should be included.
  • Those actions we are considering discarding because they are no longer useful. 

2 – Working on the discourse

In addition to being based on specific facts, language must be truthful and honest with what we do, allowing us to convey those actions we consider are not leading to the desired outcome. The aim is to link actions to the obtained outcomes. Using positive, enabling language. 

3 – Prepare the space

It should be a space free of prejudices and insecurities. Where we have attended to the emotional responses that arise and do not take control of the tone of the conversation, turning anger into assertiveness or fear into limits. We should also develop an interest in wanting to know what it has meant for participants to be where they are today. 

4 – Take care of communication

Encourage open dialogue through active listening, being open to new possibilities. Let people speak, without being driven by the desire to be right. Show respect for participants. 

5 · Conclude with an action plan

The session should end with an agreed, focused and time-bound plan. It will help participants to take the next step and commit to it.

COlaboradora en la Unidad de Formación Dual de Deusto.

AINHOA GOROSTIDI · COllaborator of the Unidad Dual.

Teacher, consultor and coach

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