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The Netherlands Initiative for Education Research (NRO) has awarded a Comenius Teaching Fellow grant to Faculty of Science lecturer Erwin van Vliet. The grant is intended to enable inspired lecturers to implement small-scale innovations in their own educational practices. Van Vliet has been awarded the grant for the 'IGuideME: the digital app for engagement, motivation and personal feedback'.

Problems with personal feedback

Erwin van Vliet submitted the project to the NRO as a result of the problems that he sees in the field of personal feedback in large-scale education: ‘As things stand, lecturers can’t give all their students feedback because there simply isn’t enough time to do so. So, when students are taught in large groups, they often don’t get feedback until they sit a summative assessment, in the form of a mark. But this feedback is too late and doesn’t give insights into the learning process. And it also means that students are not challenged.’

Innovative teaching practices and technology

The aim of the project is to engage and motivate students and provide them with personal feedback throughout the learning process. Erwin van Vliet: ‘I focus on the individual student and on active learning using innovative teaching practices and technology: a specific form of blended learning in combination with the IGuideME (I Guide My Education) app.'

IGuideME is a feedback tool which brings together information on the learning process in a user-friendly way. Automating the process allows large groups of students to be given personalised feedback. This approach challenges students and engages and motivates them.

Innovative approach

The innovative nature of the approach comes from its use of a specific form of blended learning (including flipped classroom and team-based learning) to encourage intrinsic motivation and self-regulation in combination with the IGuideME app, which are used within a single Learning Management System. Students are engaged and motivated through rewards (gamification) and personal feedback based on learning analytics. IGuideME is unique because, as yet, there are no feedback tools that work in this way.

In addition, a lecturer information pack will be produced for IGuideME, so this method can also be used by other modules in different study programmes, thereby improving teaching and learning across the board.

The project is being implemented in collaboration with Taco Werkman, Natasa Brouwer, Gerrit Oomens and Sylvia Witteveen from the Pathophysiology and Neuropharmacology module, which is part of the Bachelor’s in Psychobiology.

NRO rating: ‘Very good’

Erwin van Vliet was awarded the Fellow in the category ‘The value of knowledge’. The committee had the following to say about the project: ‘We are very positive about the innovative nature of the project. We believe that the project fulfils an important need in higher education: the provision of personalised feedback to a growing number of students. We also value the experimental nature and large scale of the project, which enhances its innovative nature.’

The committee is also positive about the expected outcome of the project, which, it believes, will benefit large numbers of students and can be broadly applied to other programmes and institutions.

The application was rated ‘very good’ and came third in the rankings. A maximum of eight applications could be accepted.

Want to make your teaching more innovative?

Do you too have ideas about how you could make your teaching more innovative? The Faculty of Science’s Teaching & Learning Centre can help you with this, whether it be making a module blended or support for a major project application. Consult the website for more information or email teaching-science@uva.nl.