A recent 2018 report published by Learning Forward, Beyond barriers: Encouraging teacher use of feedback resources. A report from The Teacher Feedback Resources Project, explores what drives teachers to embrace or challenge the use of technology-based products and services that are designed to support improvement in educational practices.
The past decade has seen significant investment in efforts to improve student success by measuring, spreading, and scaling effective teaching practices. Yet through all this measuring and evaluation, what teacher’s continue to ask for is more professional learning and more continuous, non-evaluative feedback on their practice. And while many district leaders have invested in products and services to support more frequent feedback, such as products designed for recording and sharing video observations, peer feedback and collaboration, online professional learning, and learning-management platforms, teacher adoption and use often falls below what education leaders expect.
What Factors Impact Teacher Adoption and Use of Products Designed to Improve Educational Practices?
- Training and Support – Those receiving in-person training reported higher levels of their perception of preparedness to use the product than those receiving training in other ways. A few key features they found most helpful in training include time for training, practice using the product, real-life applications, and ongoing support.
- Technical Capacity – Those who felt more prepared following training indicated that the usability of the product was higher than those who felt less prepared. For example, 80% of those feeling very prepared rated the usability of the product as excellent, compared to only 25% of those feeling very unprepared.
- Motivation – Ninety percent of respondents indicated that the products they used frequently made their job easier. Preparedness also impacted feelings about the impact on job performance—more than two thirds of all respondents who felt very prepared following training (69%) felt that the product made their job performance much better compared with only 13% of those who felt very unprepared following training.
- Usefulness of the Product – When asked about what influences the frequency of their use, respondents cited the usefulness of the product (76%) far more than the requirement to use it (41%). If educators find that the product improves their performance and makes their work easier, they would be more motivated to use it.
- Change Management – Careful change management by district leaders and teacher engagement in decision making can overcome potential barriers to use. There are many approaches to change management and it’s important for district leaders to weigh the benefits and costs of each, including analysis of the context, the product, the users, and the intended results.
Recommendations for Increasing the Use, Scale, and Impact of Products and Services
Based on the results of this study, the researchers identified four key recommendations for district leaders to consider as they move forward with initiatives and implement products or services designed to help foster collaboration and peer feedback and improve teacher practice.
- Create a clear vision and compelling purpose for adoption, including a well-defined theory of change.
- Approach adoption and use of the new product and service through a robust change management process.
- Engage teachers in the decision-making process in authentic ways.
- Allocate adequate resources for capacity building including time, training, ongoing support, and technical assistance.
Source of Data
Morgan, N., & Killion, J. (2018). Beyond barriers: Encouraging teacher use of feedback resources. A report from The Teacher Feedback Resources(Rep.). Retrieved from Learning Forward website: https://learningforward.org/publications/recent-research-and-reports/beyond-barriers-encouraging-teacher-use-of-feedback-resources