Journal of Computing in Higher Education

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 72–92 | Cite as

Supporting the development of collaboration and feedback skills in instructional designers

  • Victoria L. Lowell
  • Iryna V. Ashby


Instructional designers (IDs) frequently collaborate with subject matter experts, peer IDs, and other professionals (Intentional Futures 2016). Such collaboration often requires an exchange of feedback on design plans and work completed with and for others, as well as self-assessment of one’s own skills and work during the design process (Falchikov 1996; Topping 1998). While there is significant research on peer feedback and its benefits, few research studies focus on scaffolds to help IDs develop these professional competencies. Novice IDs may not have innate collaboration and feedback skills. Therefore instructors may need to scaffold student ID’s collaboration and feedback skill development through the purposeful integration of scaffolds into a course curriculum. Integrating peer feedback skill development opportunities can be particularly challenging in online courses as students may need various types of scaffolding. This mixed methods study focuses on considerations and supports implemented to assist with the development of ID collaboration and peer feedback skills. In this paper, we examine the role of feedback and feedback activities on their professional growth through three areas: (1) student perceptions of peer feedback prior to peer feedback activities for course assignments and after completing the peer feedback activities for course assignments; (2) the relationship between student use of peer feedback scaffolds and student’s perceptions of giving and receiving feedback; and (3) the relationship between student perceptions of feedback received and perception of benefit of feedback received. Study results indicate that while initially students found it difficult to provide and accept in-depth peer feedback, they appreciated its value for improving their designs, learning, and overall professional growth. Many students responded to course activities by putting more effort into providing quality feedback and they explored feedback provided to their peers to continue learning and improve their own work. Students shared that the regular opportunities for feedback from the onset of the course and the feedback resources provided were conducive to improvement of their peer feedback skills. Recommendations for faculty and instructors on structuring peer feedback opportunities in an online environment are provided.


Collaboration skills Peer feedback skills Instructional designers Professional competencies 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Purdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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