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Decoding Learner Feedback Dissatisfaction: Quality Issues

Updated: Sep 13

What are your learners' QUALITY-related feedback concerns?

*This multi-part series describes ten common learner feedback complaints and how to identify which ones underlie your learner's feedback concerns.

a magnifying glass over the word quality

The first type of learner feedback complaint is about the QUALITY of feedback they receive. These concerns speak to the “what” or content of the feedback provided. Learners may offer comments about:

  • What’s being shared or not shared in feedback (e.g. specific topics, tips)

  • Whether the feedback is too heavily focused on positive or negative comments (e.g. too critical or empty praise)

  • The learner's opinion of the feedback's value or usefulness (e.g. whether the feedback recipient thought the feedback could help them grow or address a learning gap)

How can you determine if your learners' feedback concerns are QUALITY-related?

Quality concerns are one of the most frequently mentioned complaints in the feedback scholarship, with trainees often reporting, “I’m not getting good or useful feedback.”

A hand selecting a red felt sad face

In addition to providing a judgment of the value or usefulness of the feedback they receive, they may share specific comments about what feedback they find unhelpful or helpful. These may include:

  • "My feedback was too general."

  • "The attending only gave me negative comments. Surely, I must have done something right."

  • "The faculty pointed out what I did wrong, but didn't offer advice about how to do it correctly."

  • “I asked my attending how to improve a technique I am struggling with. They told me to read more articles.”

  • “My attending said, ‘Good job.’ That was it.”

  • “It’s helpful when faculty share teaching points about cases they are interested in. I would like to see more of these”

  • “It would be nice to receive a text of encouragement every now and then.”

What if the feedback issue is not QUALITY-related?

Maybe your learners’ feedback concerns aren’t about what feedback is offered, but rather how much feedback is offered. In the next post, I will discuss QUANTITY-related feedback concerns and how to spot them.

Next Steps

What two QUALITY-related feedback complaints do your learners (or you) make most frequently? Share your comment or ask a question below.

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