Best Audio Feedback Tips

Good feedback helps students understand the extent of any shortcomings in their understanding. To be effective, it will also be timely, encourage students, and provide useful advice on how to improve in the future.

Recent research has shown that feedback is more effective if we stop viewing it as an event that students receive, but rather as talk allows students to deepen their understanding of the material. Effective feedback should be timely, encourage learners, and provide helpful suggestions for improvement. Audio feedback, in which the instructor records a passage for the student to listen to, is an easy-to-implement alternative to written feedback that acts as a conversation starter.

Audio feedback can be more student participation and easier to provide in a timely manner. Compared to a written review, this can be more interesting and unique because students feel that the person evaluating their work is talking to them. Since students perceive verbal feedback as more personal than written feedbackthey react more positively as it seems closer to dialogue.

This quick guide will help you get started with audio reviews.

How can I provide audio feedback?

Most virtual learning environments (including Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas) and tagging platforms (such as Turnitin) have an audio feedback recording feature. This allows users to record directly on the platform, which greatly simplifies and speeds up the process.

After that, the audio feedback will be directly linked to the corresponding send, so you don’t have to do anything else.

If you don’t have access to a tagging platform that provides audio feedback, or you need the ability to edit or add a transcript, you can record locally on a desktop/laptop or even a smartphone. You can then use the app to manage and send feedback.

There are many free applications and software packages for recording audio feedback, which in many cases also allow you to edit the recordings. However, it should be noted that the sound quality may be affected by the microphone or the software used.

If you’re manually recording audio feedback for a large course, make sure you name the files correctly so you can easily link the feedback to the right student!

Helpful Hints

Giving the right amount of feedback is important; too much or too little can make feedback less useful to students. One way to make sure you’re offering the right amount is to set an average write time.

It is generally recommended to avoid very long feedback so that the student’s attention is not distracted, and to keep the feedback short. In fact, many learning platforms have a maximum recording time of 3 to 5 minutes. Audio recording between 40 seconds and 2 minutes should be sufficient for student work.
Before you get started, you may need to do some test runs. This will help you make sure you don’t exceed the maximum recording length, understand the amount of content that can be covered within the available time, and make sure the recording is audible.

Decide on a specific structure for student feedback. It’s always nice to start off in a friendly way, such as addressing a student by their first name. Some instructors find it easier to provide holistic feedback by linking comments to grading criteria, while others prefer to review work section by section.

Use the structure that suits you best, but don’t forget to include suggestions on how to improve for future work, as this is usually very important for students.

One of the reasons students prefer audio feedback is because it can transmit shade through Tone of voicethat cannot be reflected in a written review. It is often helpful to take notes as you read through an assignment. The notes don’t have to be detailed, as they should be used as guidelines to make sure you’ve focused on key areas for improvement.

With audio feedback, students often forgive minor issues such as grammatical errors or word trips. Such errors are common in colloquial speech. You should not feel that you need to remove or redo a review if any verbal errors do not affect its quality. That being said, if you’re unhappy with a recording, it’s often faster to remake it than edit it.

Do not forget notify to the students you’ve provided audio feedback, show them how to access it and tell them what to do if they encounter technical issues. If you don’t tell students about the feedback, they may not notice the audio file. Or they may think that their assignment wasn’t marked or that they didn’t receive feedback.
Audio feedback can be inclusive as it supports students with different learning styles who may prefer to listen rather than read. Recent research has shown a strong relationship between the type of feedback students prefer and their perceived learning style. However, there may be students who strongly I prefer written feedback.

To help these students and give audio feedback more affordable for students with disabilities (or to overcome significant language barriers for non-native speakers), you can provide transcripts. Some recording apps offer direct transcription of your recordings by artificial intelligence or a human. Windows 10 offers a fully integrated voice recognition feature, but there are also websites like Veed or 360 Converter that are very accurate and easy to use.

Written and oral feedback can be used as complements. You can use one to give general comments and the other to focus on specifics. For example, written feedback might be presented as a rating rubric with a Likert scale that captures performance against a set of criteria, while audio feedback might focus on specific weaknesses, or vice versa.

Key things to avoid

Make sure the task corresponding for this type of feedback. For example, when grading math problems, it may be easier to determine where there are errors by directly recording student work. This may be more difficult to verbalize.

Another aspect to take into account is length tasks. A long academic paper, such as a dissertation, may not be suitable for audio feedback. In this case, the audio feedback may not be detailed enough to cover the key elements, or the recording will be too long.

Technical difficulites may occur when creating a record and/or accessing it. Some web browsers may not allow you to use the audio feedback feature or may not create an audio file after recording is complete. This is very easy to check and using a different browser (such as Firefox or Chrome) can easily fix the problem. If the issues persist, you may need to check your browser’s privacy settings for your microphone. Students may experience similar issues when accessing or listening to a recording – again, this may be related to the web browser.

For more information about audio feedback, see Evaluation and Feedback Handbook produced by The Economics Network.

This article was produced in collaboration with the Economics Network, the largest and oldest academic organization dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of economics in higher education. Learn more about the economic network here.