Background: Various feedback characteristics have been suggested to positively influence student learning. It is not clear how these feedback characteristics contribute to students' perceived learning value of feedback in cultures classified low on the cultural dimension of individualism and high on power distance. This study was conducted to validate the influence of five feedback characteristics on students' perceived learning value of feedback in an Indonesian clerkship context.
Methods: We asked clerks in Neurology (n = 169) and Internal Medicine (n = 132) to assess on a 5-point Likert scale the learning value of the feedback they received. We asked them to record whether the feedback provider (1) informed the student what went well, (2) mentioned which aspects of performance needed improvement, (3) compared the student's performance to a standard, (4) further explained or demonstrated the correct performance, and (5) prepared an action plan with the student to improve performance. Data were analyzed using multilevel regression.
Results: A total of 250 students participated in this study, 131 from Internal Medicine (response rate 99%) and 119 from Neurology (response rate 70%). Of these participants, 225 respondents (44% males, 56% females) completed the form and reported 889 feedback moments. Students perceived feedback as more valuable when the feedback provider mentioned their weaknesses (beta = 0.153, p <0.01), compared their performance to a standard (beta = 0.159, p <0.01), explained or demonstrated the correct performance (beta = 0.324, p <0.001) and prepared an action plan with the student (beta = 0.496, p <0.001). Appraisal of good performance did not influence the perceived learning value of feedback. No gender differences were found for perceived learning value.
Conclusions: In Indonesia, we could validate four out of the five characteristics for effective feedback. We argue that our findings relate to culture, in particular to the levels of individualism and power distance. The recognized characteristics of what constitutes effective feedback should be validated across cultures.