An addictive chemical in the brain makes students crave instant feedback and studies show that they learn better when teachers feed it. We’ve been hearing that formative assessment – which includes instant feedback – is a very effective tool for learning but science is starting to explain why.
Dopamine and Learning
You may have heard of dopamine – a neurotransmitter released by the brain. This chemical is responsible for triggering so many things in our brains including memory, attention, motivation, pleasurable rewards and learning.
Dopamine is released during pleasurable activities such as eating or playing games and can lead to addictions when not experienced in moderation.
Dopamine also triggers the storing of memory. This is why you experience fond feelings when you enter your favorite restaurant, for example. The smell and sights are cluing your brain into all the pleasurable experiences you’ve had there.
This is also why dopamine improves attention. Your brain is alert so it doesn’t miss the great rewards ahead.
Feedback = More Motivation
Gaming is a classic dopamine trigger. No parent or teacher will disagree with the pull playing games has on motivation – especially video games.
A recent study investigated the effect of feedback after a gaming scenario. The study found that negative feedback decreased feelings of competence but motivated correcting performance in the short-term. Positive feedback boosted long-term motivation.
In other words: Both positive and negative feedback increases motivation!
As this article puts it:
Another theory suggests dopamine is a “teaching signal,” like a coach who tells his player “good job” or “bad job” to encourage a future reward. In the current study, U-M researchers describe those dopamine fluctuations as a continuous cheer to motivate, with brief moments of criticism.
GradeCam – An Instant Feedback Tool
Putting all that research together suggests teachers can help students learn by creating more opportunities for instant feedback in the classroom. GradeCam was created as an instant feedback machine – literally!
Teachers can quickly and easily customize, score, and record assessments – without special forms, equipment or buy in. Create tests or quizzes with our online software and print scan forms on plain paper. Then, use our easy online grader to score assessments in an instant by scanning them with any web camera, iPhone or Android device.
We even have a student scanning mode so students can see their scores instantly – including which questions they missed so they can go back and correct.
Teachers tell us all the time how much the instant feedback of GradeCam motivates their students. You just might catch them doing a scan dance!
Here’s how to create your own grading station for students to see their scores instantly.
Sign Up for a Free Account!
Are you getting a dopamine hit right now thinking about all the ways you can motivate your students? Sign up for a free GradeCam account below and start feeding those feedback addicts!