OB 2 - MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching Vol....

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MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching Vol. 6, No. 1, March 2010 187 The Effects of Peer- and Self-Referenced Feedback on Students’ Motivation and Academic Performance in Online Learning Environments Tae Seob Shin Michigan State University East Lansing, MI USA shintae@msu.edu W. Patrick Dickson Michigan State University East Lansing, MI USA pdickson@msu.edu Abstract This study examined how graphical feedback on students’ performance in the class affected their motivation and academic performance in an online course. The study applied motivation theory to contrast two forms of feedback (self- vs. peer-referenced) and used innovative graphical displays to present this feedback. A cross-over experimental design was used to compare two types of feedback on students' achievement goal orientations, interest in the course, punctuality of assignment submission, and essay length. In one condition, students first received peer-referenced graphical feedback, designed to have them compare their performance with their peers, on the punctuality of their assignment submission for the first half of the course. They then received self-referenced graphical feedback, designed to prompt them to reflect on their own performance over time, on the length of their essays during the second half of the course. In the other condition, this feedback was given in reverse order. Results showed that students became more performance goal-oriented after receiving peer- referenced feedback and that they became more interested in the course after receiving self-referenced feedback. The findings were consistent with predictions though not statistically significant. Further theory-guided research is crucial for continuing to provide effective, individualized, real-time feedback in online environments. Keywords: peer-referenced feedback; self-referenced feedback; motivation; achievement goal orientations; interest; punctuality; essay length; graphical feedback; online course Introduction This is a study of the use of individualized, graphical feedback to increase motivation in an online course. Student motivation in online courses deserves attention because learning depends on stimulating and sustaining students’ engagement through the design of effective interactions (Wang & Reeves, 2007). Feedback provides information about one’s competence and success in a specific task (Butler & Nisan, 1986). This information is critical for student motivation because it serves as a basis for self-evaluation and self-improvement. In addition, literature on effective online teaching emphasizes the importance of providing specific, objective, and individualized feedback in online learning environments (Mory, 2004; Tallent-Runnels et al., 2006). Online environments offer new opportunities for educators to systematically vary feedback derived from theories of motivation. Such research is important in view of the rapid growth in online learning at the K-12 (Watson et al., 2009) and higher education levels (Allen & Seaman, 2008).
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OB 2 - MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching Vol....

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