As stated in several of the resources provided for this quest, there is a direct relationship between ongoing communication and continued feedback and student achievement in the online environment. When effective communication practices are employed, feedback becomes an essential part of those communication practices. When instructors communicate with students, depending on each student specific needs, they determined whether direct or indirect feedback is more beneficial.
Regular, authentic feedback is one of the most effective practices to improve student performance. In online learning, regularly communicating to students what they are doing well and what they can do better helps students stay motivated and achieve at a higher levels. For instance, in language instruction, the feedback that error correction provides is essential for the development of a second language writing skills. Indirect feedback may be more appropriate when the goal is to encourage student reflection and self-correction. However, lower proficiency students may have difficulty correcting errors if direct feedback is not provided.
Instructors have the valuable opportunity to enrich students' online learning experience by providing timely, formative feedback. Formative feedback's focus is on learning, and not on grades. When students receive formative feedback through their learning process in a timely manner, instead of focusing on the final, summative product, feedback becomes an important developmental tool that gives students clear guidance on how they can improve and be more successful.