The use of informational feedback in instruction: Implications for future research

  • Edna H. Mory


The use of informational feedback has long been advocated and verified as being an important part of learning. Many studies have been conducted to examine which variables might affect learning from feedback. The purpose of this review is to examine these studies within various constructs and identify areas that need further investigation and clarification. Feedback is examined from early studies, which viewed the process behaviorally as reinforcement, to present research that advocates an information-processing perspective and an emphasis on error correction. A current model of feedback (Kulhavy & Stock, 1989) is presented as a context for discussion. The issues of response certainty, feedback elaboration, and error analysis are also addressed. Recommendations to future researchers are presented in light of conclusions drawn.


Error Analysis Current Model Error Correction Educational Technology Clarification 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anderson, J. A. (1985). Effects of concurrent confidency and correctness of response feedback provided during computer-assisted instruction. (Doctoral dissertation, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1985).Dissertation Abstracts International, 46, 1820A.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, R. C., Kulhavy, R. W., & Andre, T. (1971). Feedback procedures in programmed instruction.Journal of Educational Psychology, 62, 148–156.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, R. C., Kulhavy, R. W., & Andre, T. (1972). Conditions under which feedback facilitates learning from programmed lessons.Journal of Educational Psychology, 63, 186–188.Google Scholar
  4. Andre, T., & Thieman, A. (1988). Level of adjunct question, type of feedback, and learning concepts by reading.Contemporary Educational Psychology, 13, 296–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bangert-Drowns, R. L., Kulik, C. C., Kulik, J. A., & Morgan, M. (1991). The instructional effect of feedback in test-like events.Review of Educational Research, 61(2), 213–238.Google Scholar
  6. Bardwell, R. (1981). Feedback: How does it function?Journal of Experimental Education, 50, 4–9.Google Scholar
  7. Barringer, C., & Gholson, B. (1979). Effects of type and combination of feedback upon conceptual learning by children: Implications for research in academic learning.Review of Educational Research, 49(3), 459–478.Google Scholar
  8. Birenbaum, M., & Tatsuoka, K. K. (1987). Effects of “on-line” test feedback on the seriousness of subsequent errors.Journal of Educational Measurement, 24(2), 145–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bloom, B. S. (Ed.). (1956).Taxonomy of educational objectives. New York: David McKay.Google Scholar
  10. Butterfield, E. C., Nelson, T. O., & Peck, V. (1988). Developmental aspects of the feeling of knowing.Developmental Psychology, 24(5), 654–663.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carter, J. (1984). Instructional learner feedback: A literature review with implications for software development.The Computing Teacher, 12(2), 53–55.Google Scholar
  12. Chanond, K. (1988). The effects of feedback, correctness of response and response confidence on learners' retention in computer-assisted instruction. (Doctoral dissertation, University of Texas at Austin, 1988).Dissertation Abstracts International, 49, 1358A.Google Scholar
  13. Char, R. O. (1978). The effect of delay of informative feedback on the retention of verbal information and higher-order learning, for college students. (Doctoral dissertation, Florida State University, 1978).Dissertation Abstracts International, 40, 748A.Google Scholar
  14. Clariana, R. B., Ross, S. M., & Morrison, G. R. (1991). The effects of different feedback strategies using computer-administered multiple-choice questions as instruction.Educational Technology Research and Development, 39(2), 5–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Clark, R. E., Aster, D., & Hession, M. A. (1987, April).When teaching kills learning: Types of mathemathantic effects. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  16. Cohen, V. B. (1985). A reexamination of feedback in computer-based instruction: Implications for instructional design.Educational Technology, 25(1), 33–37.Google Scholar
  17. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1978). Intrinsic rewards and emergent motivation. In M. R. Lepper & D. Greene (Eds.),The hidden costs of reward (pp. 205–216). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  18. Driscoll, M. P. (1990, August 30). Personal communication.Google Scholar
  19. Dweck, C. S. (1975). The role of expectations and attributions in the alleviation of learned helplessness.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 31, 674–685.Google Scholar
  20. Elley, W. B. (1966). The role of errors in learning with feedback.British Journal of Educational Psychology, 35–36, 296–300.Google Scholar
  21. Gaynor, P. (1981). The effect of feedback delay on retention of computer-based mathematical material.Journal of Computer-Based Instruction, 8(2), 28–34.Google Scholar
  22. Gilman, D. A. (1969). Comparison of several feedback methods for correcting errors by computer-assisted instruction.Journal of Educational Psychology, 60(6), 503–508.Google Scholar
  23. Hanna, G. S. (1976). Effects of total and partial feedback in multiple-choice testing upon learning.Journal of Educational Research, 69, 202–205.Google Scholar
  24. Hicken, S. (1991). Learner control and incentive in computer-assisted instruction. (Doctoral dissertation, Arizona State Univesrity, 1991).Google Scholar
  25. Kozma, R., & Bangert-Drowns, R. L. (1987).Design in context: A conceptual framework for the study of computer software in higher education. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan, National Center for Research to Improve Postsecondary Teaching and Learning. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. 287 436).Google Scholar
  26. Kulhavy, R. W. (1977). Feedback in written instruction.Review of Educational Research, 47(1), 211–232.Google Scholar
  27. Kulhavy, R. W., & Anderson, R. C. (1972). Delay-retention effect with multiple-choice tests.Journal of Educational Psychology, 63(5), 505–512.Google Scholar
  28. Kulhavy, R. W., & Parsons, J. A. (1972). Learning-criterion error perseveration in text materials.Journal of Educational Psychology, 63(1), 81–86.Google Scholar
  29. Kulhavy, R. W., & Stock, W. A. (1989). Feedback in written instruction: The place of response certitude.Educational Psychology Review, 1(4), 279–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kulhavy, R. W., White, M. T., Topp, B. W., Chan, A. L., & Adams, J. (1985). Feedback complexity and corrective efficiency.Contemporary Educational Psychology, 10, 285–291.Google Scholar
  31. Kulhavy, R. W., Yekovich, F. R., & Dyer, J. W. (1976). Feedback and response confidence.Journal of Educational Psychology, 68(5), 522–528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kulhavy, R. W., Yekovich, F. R., & Dyer, J. W. (1979). Feedback and content review in programmed instruction.Contemporary Educational Psychology, 4, 91–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kulik, J. A., & Kulik, C.-L. C. (1988). Timing of feedback and verbal learning.Review of Educational Research, 58(1), 79–97.Google Scholar
  34. Lee, O. M. (1985). The effect of type of feedback on rule learning in computer based instruction. (Doctoral dissertation, Florida State University, 1985).Dissertation Abstracts International, 46, 955A.Google Scholar
  35. Lhyle, K. G., & Kulhavy, R. W. (1987). Feedback processing and error correction.Journal of Educational Psychology, 79(3), 320–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Merrill, J. (1987). Levels of questioning and forms of feedback: Instructional factors in courseware design.Journal of Computer-Based Instruction, 14(1), 18–22.Google Scholar
  37. Merrill, M., & Tennyson, R. (1977).Teaching concepts: An instructional design guide. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.Google Scholar
  38. Metcalfe, J. (1986). Feeling of knowing in memory and problem solving.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 12(2), 288–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Mory, E. H. (1991).The effects of adaptive feedback on student performance, feedback study time, and lesson efficiency within computer-based instruction. (Doctoral dissertation, Florida State University).Google Scholar
  40. Nelson, T. O. (1988). Predictive accuracy of the feeling of knowing across different criterion tasks and across different subject populations and individuals. In M. M. Gruneberg, P. E. Morris, & R. N. Sykes (Eds.),Practice aspects of memory (Vol. 1, pp. 190–196). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  41. Nelson, T. O., Leonesio, R. J., Landwehr, R. S., & Narens, L. (1986). A comparison of three predictors of an individual's memory performance: The individual's feeling of knowing versus the normative feeling of knowing versus base-rate item difficulty.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 12(2), 279–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Park, O. C., & Tennyson, R. D. (1986). Computer-based response-sensitive design strategies for selecting presentation form and sequence of examples in learning of coordinate concepts.Journal of Educational Psychology, 78(2), 153–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Peeck, J. (1979). Effects of differential feedback on the answering of two types of questions by fifth- and sixth-graders.British Journal of Educational Psychology, 49, 87–92.Google Scholar
  44. Peeck, J., & Tillema, H. H. (1979). Delay of feedback and retention of correct and incorrect responses.Journal of Experimental Education, 47, 171–178.Google Scholar
  45. Peeck, J., van den Bosch, A. B., & Kreupeling, W. J. (1985). Effects of informative feedback in relation to retention of initial responses.Contemporary Educational Psychology, 10, 303–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Phye, G. D. (1979). The processing of informative feedback about multiple-choice test performance.Contemporary Educational Psychology, 4, 381–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Phye, G. D., & Andre, T. (1989). Delayed retention effect: Attention, perseveration, or both?Contemporary Educational Psychology, 14, 173–185.Google Scholar
  48. Phye, G. D., & Bender, T. (1989). Feedback complexity and practice: Response pattern analysis in retention and transfer.Contemporary Educational Psychology, 14, 97–110.Google Scholar
  49. Phye, G. D., Gugliamella, J., & Sola, J. (1976). Effects of delayed retention on multiple-choice test performance.Contemporary Educational Psychology, 1, 26–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Pridemore, D. R., & Klein, J. D. (1991). Control of feedback in computer-assisted instruction.Educational Technology Research and Development, 39(4), 27–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Roper, W. J. (1977). Feedback in computer-assisted instruction.Programmed Learning and Educational Technology, 14, 43–49.Google Scholar
  52. Sassenrath, J. M. (1975). Theory and results on feedback and retention.Journal of Educational Psychology, 67(6), 894–899.Google Scholar
  53. Sassenrath, J. M., & Garverick, C. M. (1965). Effects of differential feedback from examinations on retention and transfer.Journal of Educational Psychology, 56(5), 259–263.Google Scholar
  54. Sassenrath, J. M., & Yonge, G. D. (1968). Delayed information feedback, feedback cues, retention set, and delayed retention.Journal of Educational Psychology, 59(2), 69–73.Google Scholar
  55. Sassenrath, J. M., & Yonge, G. D. (1969). Effects of delayed information feedback and feedback cues in learning in delayed retention.Journal of Educational Psychology, 60(3), 174–177.Google Scholar
  56. Schimmel, B. J. (1988). Providing meaningful feedback in courseware. In D. H. Jonassen (Ed.),Instructional designs for microcomputer computer courseware (pp. 183–195). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  57. Schloss, P. J., Sindelar, P. T., Cartwright, P. G., & Schloss, C. N. (1987–88). The influence of error correction procedures and question type on student achievement in computer assisted instruction.Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 16(1), 17–27.Google Scholar
  58. Surber, J. R., & Anderson, R. C. (1975). Delay-retention effect in natural classroom settings.Journal of Educational Psychology, 67(2), 170–173.Google Scholar
  59. Tait, K., Hartley, J. R., & Anderson, R. C. (1973). Feedback procedures in computer-assisted arithmetic instruction.British Journal of Educational Psychology, 43, 161–171.Google Scholar
  60. Travers, R. M., van Wagenen, R. K., Haygood, D. H., & McCormick, M. (1964). Learning as a consequence of the learner's task involvement under different conditions of feedback.Journal of Educational Psychology, 55(3), 167–173.Google Scholar
  61. Wager, S. U. (1983). The effect of immediacy and type of informative feedback on retention in a computer-assisted task. (Doctoral dissertation, Florida State University, 1983).Dissertation Abstracts International, 44, 2100A.Google Scholar
  62. Wager, W., & Wager, S. (1985). Presenting questions, processing responses, and providing feedback in CAI.Journal of Instructional Development, 8(4), 2–8.Google Scholar
  63. Waldrop, P. B., Justen, J. E., & Adams, T. M. (1986). A comparison of three types of feedback in a computer-assisted instruction task.Educational Technology, 26, 43–45.Google Scholar
  64. Wentling, T. L. (1973). Mastery versus nonmastery instruction with varying test item feedback treatments.Journal of Educational Psychology, 65(1), 50–58.Google Scholar
  65. Winston, K. S., & Kulhavy, R. W. (1988, April).Feedback form and distribution. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edna H. Mory
    • 1
  1. 1.the University of North Carolina at WilmingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations