Journal of Current Research in Scientific Medicine

: 2018  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 122--123

Potential factors influencing the effectiveness of feedback in medical education

Saurabh Rambiharilal Shrivastava1, Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava2,  
1 Department of Community Medicine, Member of the Medical Education Unit and Medical Research Unit, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh Rambiharilal Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Potential factors influencing the effectiveness of feedback in medical education.J Curr Res Sci Med 2018;4:122-123

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Potential factors influencing the effectiveness of feedback in medical education. J Curr Res Sci Med [serial online] 2018 [cited 2022 Oct 4 ];4:122-123
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Full Text

Dear Sir,

Feedback is an important mechanism to ensure the professional growth of a learner or a trainer in medical education.[1] It helps each of the stakeholders to assess where they stand and what is eventually expected of them.[1] In fact, the trainer can help the learner to develop the roadmap to achieve their targets through mutual understanding.[1],[2] Feedback has been identified as the essential component of the programmatic assessment and even competency-based medical education, and a wide range of tools have been employed to deliver the same to the learner.[3] In fact, the feedback given keeping basic principles in mind (viz., constructive, nonjudgmental, and in a nonthreatening atmosphere) plays an important role in the professional growth of the learner.[1],[2],[3]

A person receiving feedback undergoes three successive stages, namely, react (the learner should maintain an emotional balance and actively focus on the feedback, to internalize the views or expectations of the provider), reflect (the learner has to be honest and open-minded about themselves and their performance), and finally, respond (the learner can either accept the feedback provided with gratitude or try to convey their views, in case of disagreement).[2],[3] However, the feedback would be of utmost benefit, only if the receiver analyzes the expressed views before responding.[3] Moreover, the ultimate aim of the entire process is to focus on the learning which is going to happen in the future and aim for the personal and professional betterment.[1],[2],[3]

It is important to realize that the practice of giving feedback is not simple, and multiple challenges have been identified both from the provider and the receiver side.[4],[5] A wide range of barriers have been perceived to provide effective feedback to the receiver. For example, the fear of upsetting the receiver and hampering the existing amicability would make the faculty adopt a defensive approach during feedback sessions.[4] Even the learners might take a resistant stand and ignore the feedback given by the faculty.[4] In addition, the delivery of a nonspecific feedback is of no use for the receiver to rectify their behavior.[5] Further, inconsistent feedback imparted from variable sources tend to make the learner confused and does more harm than good.[5]

Moreover, the effectiveness of feedback in bringing about the desired change is also affected by the background, cultural environment, competence level of the faculty in a specific subject, demographic attributes (namely, age and gender of both trainers and learner), and personal previous experiences of the student with the faculty.[3],[4],[5] More often than not, the authoritative behavior demonstrated by the faculty over the learners strongly influences the dynamics of feedback session.[3],[4] In addition, the faculty giving the feedback has to be good in perceiving the body language signs and modify the dynamics of feedback accordingly.[3],[5] Although it is quite imperative that the provider has to be nonjudgmental while giving feedback, still most of them tend to judge.[1] At some instances, the provider fails to ascertain whether the learner has actually understood the feedback or not and rather presume that the feedback is internalized.[3],[4],[5]

To conclude, we suggest that the faculty members of the medical college should be adequately trained to master the art of giving feedback, which would help them in eliminating the potential barriers in providing feedback.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


1Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Effective feedback: An indispensable tool for improvement in quality of medical education. J Pedagog Dev 2014;4:12-20.
2Hardavella G, Aamli-Gaagnat A, Saad N, Rousalova I, Sreter KB. How to give and receive feedback effectively. Breathe (Sheff) 2017;13:327-33.
3Waterbrook AL, Spear Ellinwood KC, Pritchard TG, Bertels K, Johnson AC, Min A, et al. Shadowing emergency medicine residents by medical education specialists to provide feedback on non-medical knowledge-based ACGME sub-competencies. Adv Med Educ Pract 2018;9:307-15.
4Alrebish SA. Barriers to effective feedback in undergraduate medical education: Case study from Saudi Arabia. Int J Health Sci (Qassim) 2018;12:31-6.
5Bing-You R, Hayes V, Varaklis K, Trowbridge R, Kemp H, McKelvy D, et al. Feedback for learners in medical education: What is known? A Scoping review. Acad Med 2017;92:1346-54.