Role of feedback in VET
Regular and continuous feedback during initial professional training is indispensable and of high value for and during the training process. Together with the appraisal interview and the questioning, it forms an important pillar in the training. It serves the trainee to develop capacity for professional self-assessment – which is the ability of reflection or self-awareness in the original sense.
During project-based learning or work-oriented learning feedback is given especially during or immediately after work preparation, during the work-process or work-flow if necessary and after self-assessment and reflection as final feedback in form of a technical discussion. Early feedback is given as guidance to achieve best quality or productivity possible, whereas final feedback after completion assures quality by discussing possible improvements (quality assurance).
Continuous feedback strengthens the trainee’s personal and professional competence, combined with continuous self-assessment it creates a strong impact on the further course or outcome of the training.
Feedback which describes the perceived individual strength and professional competencies that distinguish the trainee, is intended to be an appreciative help for the trainee´s own assessment. Target of feedback in professional training is not only the development and elaboration of required competencies.
With “feedback in a cycle” the apprentice can use his abilities more consciously for the intended development process and builds up slowly but surely a strong professional self-awareness or professional confidence.
Feedback is always a necessary part of assessment if different parties are involved and quality is required within a work process while e.g. digital documentation of the work process in the construction industry increases rapidly.
Professional self-awareness ideally entails intrinsic motivation. If individual cycle feedback can also build an individual intrinsic motivation, the likelihood of failure or termination of professional training can be reduced drastically. VET trainers and teachers are well aware of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Whereas extrinsic motivation is highly demanding and little rewarding for the instructor, intrinsic motivation of learners can result in a variety of learning experiences the whole group can benefit from.
“ Intrinsic motivation is defined as the doing of an activity for its inherent satisfaction rather than for some separable consequence. When intrinsically motivated, a person is moved to act for the fun or challenge entailed rather than because of external products, pressures, or rewards.”
Figure 5: Four Types of Intrinsic Motivation
The development of intrinsic motivation during VET will improve the learning situation of all actors in the learning process and the quality of VET itself.
An also important aspect of feedback during professional training is the fact that 20% of apprentices are not yet adults but minors. A majority of trainees in VET complete their general education with grades 9 or 10 and are in the height of adolescence when entering the VET system. Training of social interaction and communication is essential to enable peer training or group-learning in higher education or vocational education. Complex work-processes or work-oriented learning requires team-work. VET prepares candidates for the labour market. To develop fitness for the labour market prioritisation, role definition and decision-making within the work team is required. This cannot be acquired without communication, social interaction and feedback.
Overview – why to give feedback
In his book “Giving Feedback: Strategies and Exercises”, Jörg Fengler gives the following list of the thirteen helpful functions of feedback for a condensed overview:
- Feedback helps with self-assessment
- Feedback controls behaviour
- Positive feedback encourages
- Feedback helps troubleshooting
- Feedback promotes personal learning
- Feedback increases motivation
- Feedback helps to work in a goal-oriented manner
- Feedback enables the ability to obtain helpful feedback
- Feedback leads to an increase in the influence of the receiver and the giver of feedback
- Feedback causes a closer connection with the task
- In negotiations it helps in the assessment of offers
- Feedback helps in identification with the work environment and in planning professional development
- Feedback helps to accurately evaluate and assess the quality of decisions.