“Check the grade, log out”: students’ engagement with feedback in learning management systems

Naomi Winstone*, Jessica E Bourne, Emma Medland, Irina Niculescu, Roger Rees

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
230 Downloads (Pure)


There is growing recognition that socio-constructivist representations of feedback processes, where students build their own understanding through engaging with and discussing feedback information, are more appropriate than cognitivist transmission-oriented models. In parallel, practice has developed away from hard-copy handwritten or typed feedback comments, towards the provision of e-feedback in learning management systems (LMS). Through thematic analysis of activity-oriented focus groups with 33 undergraduate students, the present study aimed to explore 1) students’ experience of engaging with feedback in the LMS; 2) barriers to students’ engagement; and 3) students’ perceptions of the potential for technology to ameliorate these barriers. The data reveal particular barriers to engagement created by the LMS environment; grades and feedback are commonly separated spatially, limiting attention to the latter. Additionally, the distributed location of feedback from different tasks limits synthesis of feedback. Nevertheless, students perceived that the LMS environment affords opportunities for addressing such challenges, particularly in relation to the potential for a tool to synthesise feedback information across modules, and to direct students to resources to develop their skills. The findings are discussed in the context of cycles of engagement with feedback, and implications for the principled use of technology in feedback processes are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalAssessment and Evaluation in Higher Education
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

The acceptance date for this record is provisional and based upon the month of publication for the article.

Structured keywords

  • SPS Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences


  • feedback
  • Engagement
  • Higher Education
  • learning management system


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