Feedback has been shown to substantially influence students’ learning. However, not everything characterized as feedback is effective. Sustainable feedback places students in an active role in which they generate and use feedback from peers, self or others and aims at developing lifelong learning skills. First-year higher education students and tutors received sustainable feedback during their problem-based learning. To gain insights into how they perceived the sustainable feedback, students were probed via structured, open-ended questionnaires. While all participants positively valued the feedback, their personal characteristics, previous experience with feedback and concomitant perceptions appeared to have greatly influenced both tutors’ and students’ specific, individual behavior and responses. Conclusion is that sustainable feedback requires an evolving role of students and tutors with respect to sharing their perceptions of what feedback is, understanding the value and importance of feedback contributions of all participants, and developing the necessary skills to ask questions and give feedback.


Sustainable Feedback, Perceptions, Individual Characteristics, Asking and Seeking, Self-Efficacy, Goal Orientation

Author Bio(s)

Gerry Geitz is Academic Dean of the School of Commerce and associate professor Sustainable PBL Concepts in Higher Education at Stenden University of Applied Sciences. She is the Chair for the National Platform for the Bachelor of International Business and Languages. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: g.geitz@home.nl

Desirée Joosten-ten Brinke is associate professor at the Welten Institute at the Open University of the Netherlands [www.ou.nl] and associate professior of Comtemporary testing and assessment at Fontys University of Applied Sciences [http://fontys.nl/Over-Fontys/Fontys-Lerarenopleiding-Tilburg/Onderzoek/Lectoraat-Eigentijds-toetsen-en-beoordelen.htm]. She is head editor of a Dutch journal on assessment (Examens, tijdschrift voor de toetspraktijk) and project manager of national assessment projects.

Paul A. Kirschner is Distinguished University Professor on the Open University of the Netherlands [http://www.ou.nl] and Visiting Professor of Education at the University of Oulu. He is the author of the highly acclaimed book Ten Steps to Complex Learning, member of the Scientific Technical Council of SURF and past president of the International Society of the Learning Sciences. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: paul.kirschner@ou.nl

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