Feedback in Higher Education: An Overview of Reviews and Systematic Reviews

Document Type : Review Article


1 Pediatrician, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

2 Psychiatrist, Department of Psychiatry, North Khorasan University of Medical Sciences, Bojnurd, Iran.

3 Assistant Professor of Intensive Care Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

4 Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.



Background: This study aims to summarize the existing literature on the use of feedback in higher education and the associated characteristics, tools, and models.
Materials and Methods: Databases PubMed, ERIC, Web of Science, CINAHL, Scopus, CIVILICA, and Google Scholar were searched for relevant literature up to March 2023.
Results: Feedback is an essential component of the learning process. The effectiveness of feedback relates to its double-barreled approach that focuses on both the cognitive and motivational aspects of learning. Based on the literature, feedback can enhance learning professionalism, curriculum reforms, system support, student comfort, evaluations, and efficacy of professionalism. Characteristics of effective feedback include the creation of a receptive environment, clarity, and focus on direct observation, specificity, and comparison with a standard of competency, timeliness, constructiveness, encouragement of self-directed learning, and being nonjudgmental and actionable. Feedback tools (e.g., Mini-PAT, Video recording, OSCE, feedback cards, web-based) are recommended to increase learner satisfaction and the volume of feedback, but the use of tools must be combined with faculty development and feedback culture. The six most common feedback models are the feedback sandwich, the Pendleton rules, the one-minute preceptor, the SET-GO model, the R2C2, and the ALOBA model. Educators and learners need to be properly trained and empowered in this skill for the most effective and successful results in improving learning and performance.
Conclusion: Feedback is critical for learners’ development, and educators play a crucial role in planning and providing constructive feedback. Educators should consider the quality of feedback and its models, tools, and practices and incorporate them into practice, reflecting on their performance and seeking feedback on their skills from learners, peers, and trusted colleagues.