Add Value Beyond Feedback/alx

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Add Value Beyond Feedback
Contributors Christian Köppe, Ralph Niels, Robert Holwerda, Lars Tijsma, Niek Van Diepen, Koen Van Turnhout, René Bakker, Stijn Hoppenbrouwers
Last modification May 12, 2017
Source Köppe, Niels, Holwerda, Tijsma, Van Diepen, Van Turnhout & Bakker (2015)[1]; Köppe et al. (2016)[2]
Pattern formats OPR Alexandrian
Learning domain

In a Flipped Classroom course, class-sessions are based on both course content (book chapters, lecture video’s etc.) that students read or watched, and homework assignments that they’ve handed in prior to the session. An important activity during the session is reviewing a sample of handed-in assignments and discussing them (see Use Student Solutions (Use Student Solutions)), with the teacher giving feedback based on the work by the students.


If a class-session is spent primarily on giving students feedback on their individual homework, students might perceive the session as not very valuable, reducing both the effect of the session and their motivation to prepare diligently for coming sessions.

Whenever a teacher is discussing the work of a particular student, the rest of the class is likely to feel that the discussion does not apply to them. Oftentimes this feeling is correct to some degree, especially if the discussion focuses on an issue with the work that isn’t present in the work of other students.

Many assignments will focus on having the student practice with some aspect of the subject of the lesson. This may result in assignments that test the student’s grasp of the material (an example is the puzzle-nature of assignments in engineering subjects). Feedback on such assignments tends to focus on deciding the correctness of the work, sometimes giving advice on fixing problems. If most of the discussion is focused on deciding how well students grasp the course content, the opportunity is missed to use course content and homework as a stepping stone to more advanced aspects of the subject at hand.

When the discussion of student work is the backbone of the classroom session (an important tenet of the flipped classroom method), it’s difficult to plan the session in advance in a detailed way (e.g. elaborate powerpoints are of no use). This may eliminate an important mental anchor for inexperienced lecturers (or lecturers who are less familiar with the subject matter than they’d like). In such a situation, one may be inclined to adhere closely to the backbone: just stick to giving feedback to homework. This results in some stiffness in the interaction between the lecturer and the student group.

In some fields of study (e.g. STEM education), homework assignments are often designed primarily to test whether the student has understood some theory (or is competent in some skill). This kind of testing is intended to discover failures of skill or understanding, and to train the student in problem solving. Assignments with such a testing-character, however, often do not provide interesting cues that may trigger discussion of new aspects, introduction of new knowledge, or the relaying of elucidating anecdotes.

When the assignment is nothing more than a test of the course content that was part of the required preparation, and the student solution under discussion is just a correct answer, it’s difficult to make the feedback ("this is the correct answer") interesting for the whole group.


Therefore: Interweave feedback with added value moments: mini-lectures with new knowledge, interesting demo’s, anecdotes with examples from real-life, generalized wisdom etc.

Use Student Solutions (Use Student Solutions) as a stepping stone to introduce new knowledge/viewpoints/generalisations that add to the preparation material (which is part of Suitable Content Selection (Suitable Content Selection)). Preferably connect the added value moments to an assignment that’s being discussed.

Make sure to express appreciation to the student whose work is used as a motivation for the added value intermezzo as suggested in Student Contribution Esteem (Student Contribution Esteem) (especially if the intermezzo was triggered by a defect in the work).

Designers of a Flipped Classroom course can help by including assignments that provide cues for such added value moments (and documenting those cues). There is nothing wrong with the kind of testing assignments described above, and they can remain an important part of a Flipped Classroom program. But it will help to mix them with assignments whose nature is more exploratory, experimental, or reflective. If one has made the students understand that the purpose of making the homework is not to prove competence, but to provide a basis for a dialogue in class, one can even give assignments whose sole purpose is to be a starting point for the introduction of new theory in class. One may pose an interesting problem, of describe a fascinating phenomena, and ask the students to speculate about a solution, meaning or hypothesis, which is a concrete application of Student Miners (Student Miners).

Other related patterns are Linking Old to New (Linking Old to New) and Expand the Known World (Expand the Known World). Add Value Beyond Feedback (Add Value Beyond Feedback) could be a special form of a Student Driven Lecture (Student Driven Lecture). It is also a good combination of Suitable Content Selection (Suitable Content Selection), Suitable Delivery Form Selection (Suitable Delivery Form Selection), and Imagination Stimulation (Imagination Stimulation), which are foundational lecture design patterns.

In the programming course “Scripting for Designers" at HAN University of Applied Sciences, about two-thirds of the theory is treated in the video’s that are part of the required preparation for each lesson. The other one-third is deliberately left for the classroom session itself. Some theory is best kept for last, in the sense that students will understand it better only after they’ve invested some mental energy in thinking about it. Assignments have been designed to trigger the introduction of new knowledge. One simple example is the homework question: “Javascript programs run in the web browser. When, do you think, does a javascript program stop executing?". Students will give many different answers, many of them correct. This allows the lecturer to explain the event-driven execution model of the Javascript programming language, resulting in an elaborate diagram on the whiteboard that structures and relates many of students’ answers, and also introduces some new ones. Note the clause “do you think" in the question. Students have been made aware that this clause means they’re allowed to speculate.

In the course “Object-Oriented Program Development" at HAN University of Applied Sciences, students have to find errors in their programs by first manually emulating their execution step-by-step and keeping track of the values of all variables. After they understood how this is done and how it can be used to identify errors, the lecturer gives a demo of the debugger (of the Eclipse workbench), which essentially realizes the same approach in an automated way. This way the students got a better understanding of how the debugger works..


  1. Köppe, C., Niels, R., Holwerda, R., Tijsma, L., Van Diepen, N., Van Turnhout, K., Bakker, R., (2015). Flipped Classroom Patterns - Designing Valuable In-Class Meetings. In Proceedings of the 20th European Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (EuroPLoP 2015). New York:ACM.
  2. Patlet also published in Köppe, C., Niels, R., Bakker, R., & Hoppenbrouwers, S. (2016). Flipped Classroom Patterns-Controlling the Pace. In Proceedings of the 10th Travelling Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (VikingPLoP 2016). New York:ACM.