Impact of combining human and analytics feedback on students' engagement with, and performance in, reflective writing tasks

by   Wannapon Suraworachet, et al.

Reflective writing is part of many higher education courses across the globe. It is often considered a challenging task for students as it requires self-regulated learning skills to appropriately plan, timely engage and deeply reflect on learning experiences. Despite an advance in writing analytics and the pervasiveness of human feedback aimed to support student reflections, little is known about how to integrate feedback from humans and analytics to improve students' learning engagement and performance in reflective writing tasks. This study proposes a personalised behavioural feedback intervention based on students' writing engagement analytics utilising time-series analysis of digital traces from a ubiquitous online word processing platform. In a semester-long experimental study involving 81 postgraduate students, its impact on learning engagement and performance was studied. The results showed that the intervention cohort engaged statistically significantly more in their reflective writing task after receiving the combined feedback compared to the control cohort which only received human feedback on their reflective writing content. Further analyses revealed that the intervention cohort reflected more regularly at the weekly level, the regularity of weekly reflection led to better performance grades, and the impact on students with low self-regulated learning skills was higher. This study emphasizes the powerful benefits of implementing combined feedback approaches in which the strengths of analytics and human feedback are synthesized to improve student engagement and performance. Further research should explore the long-term sustainability of the observed effects and their validity in other contexts.


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