Good Literature Review On Digital Responses And Feedback To Efl/Esl Student Writing

Type of paper: Literature Review

Topic: Feedback, Students, Writing, Study, Development, Education, Literature, Teacher

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2020/12/19


Writing is one of the four main skills that most individuals have to master at one point of their learning stages. However, different an individual’s personal process in writing, the writing process should always depend, to some degree, on evaluation from a second or a third party. Previous research has tried to determine what effect feedback has on the development of student writing, and the writing process, and how it impacts student progress. These research studies have provided some information about the length of time feedback should take, how feedback should be sent, and what progress the student makes as a result of feedback, unfortunately these studies have largely depended on anecdotal evidence, and so have not resulted in the collection of empirical evidence.
This research study will work to identify the effectiveness of feedback, or how the use of systematic feedback can have different effects on the students’ writing development. Moreover, the research that I’m examining will focus on the history of performing feedback and how the progress of technology supported this research. Specifically, feedback on writing performance has provided ESL/ EFL students with necessarily feedback to hone their writing skills. I will explore what research has indicated is educational best practice with regard to the delivery form of feedback given, the response time of feedback given, and types of feedback given.

Literature Review

The Significance of Delivery
There is an abundance of research on the effectiveness of feedback when it is received electronically from an automated system, electronically or directly from peers, or directly from the teacher, while all three are useful, the impact they have on student writing, and the student writing process is very different.
One research study, led by Semones, found that English language learning students having to use “mediate computer environment” (2001), did in fact enjoy increased writing development. However, a second study, by Tuzi, found that the use of digital based environments, or computer generated and delivered feedback, also had some draw backs: such as losing the ability to negotiate meaning and replacement of verbal communication with text based communications (2001).
Peer feedback, in today’s writing environment is as likely to happen online, as it is in the classroom, or personal group study settings. While studies have found that peer review handled online is still effective in correcting and enhancing work, and had its share of benefits regarding online collaboration on different writing projects. However, studies have also demonstrated that social aspect of collaboration, as a tool for growth is effective, and totally absent from online writing collaboration. As to what Guardado & Shi (2007), found in their study of ESL Canadian students, that its worthy of pursuing more online interactions and collaborations but with mediated instructor’s interaction and control. Furthermore, this study proves that the social factor and how student distinguish communication presences with different levels of attention, must be given an in depth study by observing the mix of different mediated technical environments into students writing feedback. (Walter, Ortbach & Niehaves, 2015). Additionally, For Walter, Ortbach & Niehaves (2015), the “social presence” factor among writing students had significant outcomes regarding the increase of “social presence awareness” among student when non-human factor was absent from the interaction.
A more empirical, but parallel study, by Azar Njafi Marboyeh, studied the impact of both teacher written and peer provided feedback on a test group of 91 Iranian EFL students over a 14-week semester (2011.) The study found that teacher written feedback and peer feedback both positively impacted the writing performance for writing EFL students. However, it did demonstrate that visual learners benefited much more from peer feedback than those that primarily depended on other learning styles, where as all learning styles benefitted equally from teacher generated feedback (Marboyeh, 2011).
Knowing that teacher generated feedback is the most effective way to help EFL students become better writers, means understanding how that feedback should be delivered is especially important. Written comments from instructors can be received electronically, or on personally delivered drafts of the paper, but according to a study by Bruno and Santos, written comments on assignments were most important to the development of the writing process. When intensively studying three samples of students, it was found that when a student could physically see an instructors comments on their work they were more able to structure topics in a way that organized the task, increase the use of their vocabulary, and apply appropriate strategy to complex writing and thinking (Bruno & Santos, 2010).
Thus, the interaction regarding human and non-human feedback is still debatable in different contexts. The study itself regarded the different use of multiple layers of feedback through different media tools. Though, the EFL context still needed more research on how collaboration in a different context will have any effects on students writing development. The collaboration factor is something interesting to notice but the social and technical abilities are norms that need to be fixated on intensively, (Wen-Chuan & Shu Ching, 2011).

The Significance of Speed of Response

The factor of immediate response to student writing is very critical and problematic as well. The automated responses do limit the time frame of sending feedback to students. Nevertheless, completing the task of feedback is challenging for most teachers and instructors for how time consuming the task of commenting on large scales of student papers is. Furthermore, taking a study done by Huxham (2007), on how modeled answers or simple comments could close the gap of feedback time limitations, which was executed on two models; firs, that prepared automated feedback scripts and; second, simple comments as feedback. The results were positively in general. However, some of the students accepted the idea of modeled answers, but others preferred more direct comments from the teacher. Thus, the expansion of using multimodal systems suggested to Huxham (2007), the use of more “hybrid” forms for developing student’s feedback. Barker (2011), on how automated response with fixed answers helped shorten the time gap between students sending their response and getting their feedback in a timely manner. This study provided an open door on how technology based platforms could be of use regarding limiting comments on different student work without losing perspective toward the feedback process.
Moreover, examining Barker (2011), I can say that he managed to develop a systematic functional platform for receiving student work and sending timeless feedback to the students. His project took in concern different developments to the system that he developed. He updated and developed each prototype after each experiment depending on feedback from instructors who used his system in their courses. The system in general was developed to fit more identified answer models that can be evaluated depending on fixed criteria. Still, the problem is with long projects that are more difficult to assess, as in different levels of student’s backgrounds, and level of education that they are in, elementary, secondary, undergrad or grad.


The development of feedback in general has taken in concern different criteria’s focusing greatly on the three aspects of writer feedback explored above, and as I have determined, some understanding of best practices can be reached. However, the research dwelt vaguely with four points that I see as important for EFL student writing progress, and which I would recommend as the focus of future research First, the time managing of feedback through technical based platforms, still need to be observed and researched. Secondly, the implementation of recorded data on student progress should be observed more in an EFL context. Thirdly, cultural factors and how teacher centered learning environments could benefit from digital collaboration, (Saudi learning context as an example). Fourthly, how digital feedback will work with segregated gender learning environments taught by male teachers through different closed circuit communication, (Saudi female English learners context as an example). It is essential that we both apply what can already be learned from research in regards to the time frame for feedback, the format of feedback, and they types of feedback received, and continue to research the currently poorly understood elements of developing the writer process through feedback for EFL students, in order to create an EFL/ESL writing course that truly helps the writer’s process progress, develop, and become refined.


Bruno, I. & Santos, L., (2010). Written comments as a form of feedback. Studies in Educational Evaluation. 36, 111-120.
Hyland, F. (1998). The impact of teacher written feedback on individual writers. Journal Of Second Language Writing, 7255-286. doi:10.1016/S1060-3743(98)90017-0
Hyland, F. (2003). Focusing on form: student engagement with teacher feedback. System, 31217-230. doi:10.1016/S0346-251X(03)00021-6
Lalande II, J. F. (1982). Reducing Composition Errors: An Experiment. Modern Language Journal, 66(2), 140.
Marboyeh, A. (2011). The Impact of Teacher Feedback and Peer Feedback on the Writing Performance of EFL Students with Different Learning Styles. E-proceedings of the International Online Language Conference. 2, 445
Radecki, P. M., & Swales, J. M. (1988). ESL student reaction to written comments on their written work. System, 16355-365. doi:10.1016/0346-251X(88)90078-4
Semones, L. (2001). Collaboration, computer mediation, and the foreign language writer. Clearing House, 74(6), 308-312.
Tuzi, F. (2001). E-Feedback's Impact on ESL Writers' Revisions
Tuzi, F. (2004). The impact of e-feedback on the revisions of L2 writers in an academic writing course. Computers And Composition, 21217-235. doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2004.02.003
Walter, N., Ortbach, K., & Niehaves, B. (2015). Designing electronic feedback – Analyzing the effects of social presence on perceived feedback usefulness. International Journal Of Human - Computer Studies, 761-11. doi:10.1016/j.ijhcs.2014.12.001
WEN-CHUAN, L., & SHU CHING, Y. (2011). Exploring students' perceptions of integrating Wiki technology and peer feedback into English writing courses. English Teaching: Practice & Critique, 10(2), 88-103.

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