Effects of feedback on working memory





Effects of Feedback on Working Memory: Implications of Student Learning

Feedback is an essential part of effective learning. It helps students understand the subject being studied and gives them clear guidance on how to improve their learning. Research has shown a massive difference in the effects of feedback on learning.

In the classroom, feedback is the information given by teachers and students’ pupils to assess themselves and each other and for teachers to modify the teaching and learning activities, they are engaged in. Feedback given as rewards or grades enhances ego. (Butler, 1988).

Furthermore, those with ego-involvement have a mindset focusing on competitive performance, so they are willing to take on new challenges and learn from failure (Dweck, 2000).

It connects to Xu(2017)’s study: as learners listen, digest, implement and give feedback about what they should have done, it forces the brain to engage in a heavy mental uplifting, thus fostering comprehension and retention.

Doing this helps expand the warehouse and remember what a learner has learned more easily since this involves a lot of information processing. The process that happens in learners’ brains is so-called working memory.

Working memory is one of the brain’s executive functions. It is a skill that allows us to work with information without losing track of what we are doing. Working memory is crucial in learning and can hold and manipulate information mentally over a short period (Stevenson, 2017). Research has shown that approximately ten percent of people have weak working memory (Kim, & Christianson, 2017). Poor memory is one of the most significant contributors to learning difficulties. There have been reported cases of individuals failing to report even a single array of visual working capacity correctly (Namaziandost et al., 2018). Working memory failures are widespread. On the contrary, ,having an excellent working memory helps the learners to be able to hold the information taught long enough to use it, and it also plays a significant role in concentration and following the instructions given. Thus,how do we improve students’ working memory during learning?

Research has shown that practicing with feedback can help in improving the working memory performance compared to when there is a no-feedback group for a particular session (Goo, 2012).

Performance feedback may be vital in helping improve working memory performance (Agarwal et al., 2017). For instance, performance feedback helps improve the working memory because the subjects are not aware of the period of inattentiveness but bringing the learners’ attention state into attentiveness helps them to be able to re-arrange the information (Li & Roshan, 2019).

The feedback also helps the learners alert them that their current attention state is insufficient to perform well (Finn, Thomas, & Rawson, 2018). This helps the learners learn about the failures and thus ensures that they address these failures.

This also helps in increasing the intrinsic motivation of the learners. Unmotivated learners may perform below their capability, and thus, giving feedback helps in increasing task engagement and the general level of performance (Bouchacourt, & Buschman, 2019).

Also,according to Adam & Vogel (2016), “behavioral feedback can lead to global improvement in working memory performance.” However, not every feedback can lead to a similar improvement level.

Therefore, this emphasizes the importance of ensuring that the feedback used is efficient and delivered as supposed (Engle, 2018). This is especially because, although researchers believe that feedback is beneficial in helping improve working memory, the way it is done may lead to no advancement or even to performance reduction.

Gaps in literature

Research has shown that there is a significant impact in the effects of feedback on working memory. However, it is not shown how learners are affected differently by different types of feedback. Therefore, it is essential to look at how feedback affects learners and how this either helps improve or reduce their working memory.