Giving Effective Feedback

"Feedback is when a learner is offered insight into what he or she actually did, as well as the consequences of his or her actions. Feedback highlights the dissonance between the intended result and the actual result, thereby providing impetus for change." --J. Ende

When giving feedback, the instructor is essentially providing an objective and a constructive description of the learner's performance. Feedback can reinforce what the learner did well and explain where he/she could have done better. It offers the learner insight into his/her performance as well as the consequences of the actions. Effective feedback can provide the students information for making the necessary changes in behavior and skills.

Without feedback, learners have no way to assess their performance and may be unaware of areas in which they are doing well or areas in need of improvement. The may then self-validate and continue this negative behavior.

Feedback is a critical component of medical education by helping learners to understand where they stand in relation to the desired goals and objectives for professional growth.




  1. Observation and Feedback. Strategies in Clinical Teaching Website; University of Kansas School of Medicine - Wichita [Website Link]


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  3. Irby DM. Teaching and learning in ambulatory care settings: a thematic review of the literature. Acad Med 1995; 70: 898-931.
  4. Milan FB, Parish SJ, Reichgott, MJ. A Model for Educational Feedback Based on Clinical Communication Skills Strategies: Beyond the "Feedback Sandwich", Teaching and Learning in Medicine, 200618:1, pages 42-47. DOI: 10.1207/s15328015tlm1801_9.