a photo of an educator and a screenshot of Easel's text tool being used to provide student feedback

Providing timely feedback to students is an instructional practice supported by learning science research. It encompasses feedback that takes place at or near the moment that learning happens and offers coaching to help students learn and grow. But in today’s changing education spaces, it can be challenging to identify effective ways to give timely feedback to students. That’s why Easel by TpT™ was built with effective instructional practices in mind — based on a review of relevant peer-reviewed research, interviews with educators, and industry reports. Keep reading to discover how Easel empowers teachers to deliver timely feedback in online, in-person, and hybrid learning environments.

Providing Timely Feedback in Multiple Learning Environments

It’s probably no surprise that timely and effective feedback can help students learn more than just receiving the right answer. This practice can also help students learn why an answer is correct and encourage higher-order thinking. Effective feedback should provide “clear, purposeful, meaningful” guidance and logical connections that are compatible with students’ prior knowledge (Hattie & Timperley, 2007). And when this type of feedback is provided to students — especially close to the moment of learning — it can empower them to make connections beyond the specific context of a lesson and transfer what they’ve learned to other situations, in and out of school. Which is, of course, what most teachers hope and aim for.

Yet how can teachers make feedback work in today’s changing learning environments? As learning shifted from brick-and-mortar buildings to remote and hybrid environments, teachers were able to find creative ways to give timely feedback. But wouldn’t it be nice if it were a bit easier for teachers to provide this key element of learning regardless of the learning environment?  

“We cannot lose sight of the importance of providing timely and specific feedback, especially when we may not have our kids in front of us.”

(Mullikin, 2020)

Easel and the Learning Science Behind Timely Feedback

Timely feedback is delivered either immediately or close to the moment of learning, and gives explanatory or corrective coaching so a student can learn and grow. Learning science indicates that this instructional practice promotes student learning (Weinart & Helmke, 1995), with research pointing to benefits including enhanced learning opportunities, increased retention of information, increased student understanding of personal learning process (Eggen & Kauchak, 2004), and improved student achievement (Hattie, 1999).  

With Easel, it becomes easier for teachers to deliver timely feedback to students — and to create, customize, present, assign, collect, and grade interactive lessons. 

Easel Features Teachers Can Use to Provide Timely Feedback 

  • Use text and pen tools, shapes, and highlighting to insert comments, redirection, encouragement, and critical information on students’ submitted assignments.
  • Use preview mode to work with students on an activity and provide feedback in real time. 
  • Grade and return student work immediately or shortly after receiving it for their review.
  • Give students the opportunity to resubmit work you’ve reviewed, so you can provide them with multiple opportunities to receive feedback and improve their work.

Here are a few ideas for how educators can use features in Easel to provide timely feedback to students in thoughtful and creative ways:

A written example of timely through personalized encouragement.
  • Use the pen tool to provide visual feedback during an online lesson; e.g., draw a star, write a congratulatory word, etc.
  • Using shape annotations, indicate student progress by using a red circle to show where a student should stop and rethink or a green square to show where the student is ready to proceed.
  • Use shape annotations to enable students to quiz themselves. Prepare an assignment by providing the answers to each question, but cover those answers with a movable shape. At home, students can answer questions on their own, then move the shape to check their work.
  • Add text and answer boxes to ask students questions about their work that encourage them to expand on their thinking
A written example of timely feedback through encouraging questions.
  • While presenting an activity in preview mode, have students solve a practice problem on their own in stages. Then review each part of the problem, giving students the opportunity to review their work and ask questions at each step.
  • While presenting an activity in preview mode, give a live quiz and immediately review and discuss answers to build students’ metacognition about what they know and don’t know in preparation for an assessment.
  • Digitally return student work at the moment learning happens, such as focused exit tickets that quickly check student understanding.
  • Add extra pages to an activity to create a “conversation space” in which students can add comments or questions about the lesson and the teacher can provide further explanation and clarification.

Learn more about the learning science behind Easel and incorporating instructional best practices in our research report.*

How Do You Use Easel to Provide Timely Feedback? 

Have you come up with new, fun, or different ways to use Easel to provide timely feedback? Keep us in the loop — we’d love to hear your ideas! Also, be sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and/or Facebook and tag #EaselByTpT to share your thoughts. We may feature your timely feedback ideas on social media or our blog, so check back often. And happy Easeling!

Learn More About Easel

Still getting the hang of Easel? Find some quick how-to’s here, or try this interactive tutorial to walk through the basic tools and functionality.

Start creating interactive lessons, just how you want, with Easel by TpT. And if you have a TpT School Access subscription, get started with Easel here.

Easel by TpT is also available with TpT School Access — the school-funded subscription that gives educators access to nearly 4 million teacher-created resources, without paying out of pocket. Refer your principal and share this report with them.

Research Citations

6 Teacher-Approved Tips for Faster, More Effective Feedback

Explanation Feedback Is Better Than Correct Answer Feedback for Promoting Transfer of Learning

Effects of Feedback in a Computer-Based Learning Environment on Students’ Learning Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis

Focusing on Feedback in Distance Learning

The Power of Feedback

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Only upload content you own or have the right to use with our platform (Easel by TpT).