Regular assessments and effective feedback are critical for all learners to improve and grow. For adult learners, these tools are essential as they increase motivation. In Olusegun Agboola Sogunro’s (PhD) 2014 study, “Motivating Factors for Adult Learners in Higher Education,” graduate students at Central Connecticut State University identified the main motivating factors in their learning. Over 90% of respondents cited progressive assessment and timely feedback as top motivators.
Progressive Assessments as Top Motivators
An assessment monitors students’ learning and identifies their strengths and weaknesses. Formal assessments follow specific criteria. Instructors then calculate the results into numbers so there is concrete evidence of learning. This format is especially useful for adults who are time-constrained since they can easily identify problem areas.
Contrastingly, an informal assessment is unplanned and done in students’ natural classroom environment. It includes observations and activities that assess understanding and progress. Unlike formal assessments, it does not use metrics. However, it is effective in helping students regularly check in with their learning. Furthermore, it encourages them to learn actively and participate in class.
The Importance of Effective Feedback
Feedback involves giving learners information about their progress and performance. It can take different forms, such as written, verbal and peer or self-assessed. However, the key is to ensure feedback is constructive. Here are the main components of effective feedback:
- The instructor and learner have a collaborative relationship. Feedback can then be a way to increase communication and trust between them.
- The environment in which the feedback is provided is supportive and respectful. The student will then be more willing to receive critique.
- Feedback is timely. The learner can then take steps to improve problem areas before the work becomes more challenging.
- Feedback is specific, objective and consistent.
When all these criteria are met, assessment and feedback guide learners to understand their weaknesses and strengths. They can then be more motivated to grow.
Progressive assessment and timely feedback are essential motivators for adult learners. These tools allow learners to reflect on their progress and continuously improve. Moreover, using these tools is crucial in enabling students to build trust, rapport and communication with instructors.