Giving Feedback and Effective Learning

Catherine Striley, PhD, MSW, MPE
Research Assistant Professor, Department of
 Mentoring may be one of the most effective learning
 Mentors can help the mentee use the experiential
learning process, encourage peer-to-peer learning, and
can provide helpful feedback
 Helpful feedback is given using a positive, open style
Shows respect, interest, clear desire to help
 The content of helpful feedback is specific,
descriptive“I” messages
 Mentoring and Effective
 Exercise
 Providing Feedback
 Exercises
 Discussion
Learning Roles of the Mentor
Sharing knowledge
Tutoring on performance,
Being the master to the apprentice,
Providing information and opportunities, and
Modeling appropriate scientific behavior (National
Academy of Sciences 1997)
 The other mentoring roles are more supportive and
 But, these roles are part of what makes the learning
effective, so don’t forget them!
Effective Learning: Review
 Systematic review of the literature conducted by
Steinert et al. Medical Teacher 2006, 28,60:497-526
 Use experimental learning
 Experience, reflect, theorize, experiment (Kolb, 1984)
 Provide feedback
 Use effective peer and colleague relationships
 Use a diversity of methods to intervene
Effective Learning
 Mentoring is a learner-centered process (Zachary 2000)
 Allows the mentee to learn through observation, action,
reflection and dialogue (Schon 1987)
 “Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created
through the transformation of experience.”
 Learning by action, then reflection
 Holistic
 Requires the learner take responsibility and
 Schön, D. (1983) The Reflective Practitioner, New York: Basic Books
 Kolb, D. (1984) Experiential Learning, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc.
Experiential Learning
Kolb. D. A. and Fry, R. (1975) 'Toward an applied theory of experiential learning; in
C. Cooper (ed.) Theories of Group Process, London: John Wiley.
Effective Mentoring
 “Setting clear expectations,
 Regularly assessing their student’s understanding,
 Fostering independence, and
 Asking colleagues for advice when confronted with a
challenge in mentoring” (Pfund et al. 2006).
Start with an Agreement/Plan I
 Association of American Medical Colleges Compact
 Expectations of the mentor
 Develop the skills needed to promote the career of the mentee.
 Mutually agreed upon set of expectations and goals are in place at
the outset
 Relationship based on trust and mutual respect.
Start with an Agreement/Plan II
Expectations of the mentor
 Promote all ethical standards for conducting research
 Provide sufficient opportunities to acquire the skills
necessary to become an expert
 Provide guidance and mentoring, and will seek the
assistance of other faculty and departmental/institutional
resources when necessary
 Encourage networking and interaction with fellow scientists
 Ensure appropriate credit
 Assist in exploring appropriate career options
 Commit to being a supportive colleague as they transition
Agreement/Plan Gives
Assessment Tool
 Regular, periodic assessment of where the person is
 Really providing the opportunity for them to assess,
reflect, and set new goals
Encourage Peer-to-Peer Learning
 Writing groups
 Mentoring groups
 Lab-based groups
 Brown-bags
 Milton comes into your office and asks if you have time
to meet with him. He then reveals that an article he
submitted has been rejected for publication, and tells
you that he thinks the comments were personal and
hateful. He believes that he should turn the article
around to another journal immediately because the
reviewers weren’t fair.
 What would you want Milton to learn from this
 How can you facilitate Milton learning this lesson?
What Kind of Feedback
do You Give?
 Feedback diagnostic test
 http://www.mgt-
Ineffective/Negative Delivery
 Attacking
 Indirect
 Insensitive
 Disrespectful
 Judgmental
 Too general
 Poor timing.
 Impulsive
 Selfish
Effective/Positive Delivery
Healthy timing
Negative/Closed Style
 Defensive
 Attacking
 Denies
 Devalues
 Invulnerable
 Rationalizes
 Patronizing
 Superficial
Exercise 2
 Describe a time when you gave up pursuing some
activity or goal.
 Did any negative feedback influence your decision?
 Describe a time when you wanted to give up, but
 Did anyone give you helpful feedback?
 Did anyone encourage you? What did this look like?
Sound like?
Positive/Open Style
 Open and vulnerable
 Responsive and accepting
 Respectful
 Engaged
 Thoughtful
 Interested
Adapted from
Exercise 3
 You are in the final stage of a grant application due
tomorrow and expect Angini, your mentee, to have the
background section completed. You believe you
provided clear instruction to her and helped get her
 Angini brings you the section in bullet form, but the
points are tangential and do not help build the case for
your proposal.
 Dividing into pairs, one of you play the role of Angini,
the other the mentor.
 Mentoring itself can be an effective learning
technique, using the experiential learning process,
providing feedback, and encouraging peer-to-peer
 Helpful feedback is given using a positive, open style
 Helpful feedback is always supportive and respectful,
even while it is challenging
 Attacking a person, rather than an issue, is a sure way
to ruin a relationship
More Information
 Lots of wonderful resources are available!
 The Elements of Mentoring by W. Brad Johnson and
Charles R. Ridley
 Effective Coaching: Lesson’s from the Coach’s Coach by
Myles Downey
 The Mentor’s Guide: Facilitating Effective Learning
Relationships by Lois J. Zachary
 Power Mentoring by Ellen Ensher and Susan Murphy
 Mentoring: How to Develop Successful Mentor
Behaviors by Gordon F. Shea

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