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As you consider how to respond to student feedback and other evaluation data, it may help to review these research-based principles of student learning (see Ambrose et al., How Learning Works, 2010). In what ways does your course design address these factors?

Students’ prior knowledge and beliefs

What knowledge and skills do students have entering your class? What misconceptions? Read about the importance of understanding and addressing student misconceptions.

Structures for learning and for acquiring skills

Experts (you) and novices (your students) differ in various ways. It’s not just how much information you have, it’s how you organize information and detect patterns. Be explicit about how you organize the material and how practitioners in your field connect ideas.

Ways to acquire, practice, and appropriately apply skills

Break complex tasks into component parts and provide opportunities for students to transfer knowledge between contexts and develop mastery. Read more about developing skills and expert thinking.

Goal-directed practice and targeted feedback

Provide many opportunities for students to practice skills that are important to the class, and provide timely, effective, and informative feedback on student performance. Read more on assessments that support learning. See also, “F is for Feedback” in Schwartz, et al., The ABCs of How We Learn, 2016 and “What Kinds of Practice and Feedback Enhance Learning?" in Ambrose et al., How Learning Works, 2010.

Metacognitive skills

Metacognition is an awareness and understanding of one’s own thought process. Instructors can build metacognitive skills by:

  • modeling their own thought processes and approaches to tasks (such as research and writing)
  • providing early opportunities for assessment
  • encouraging student reflection on their own strategies and performance (through “exam wrappers” for example)

Motivation for learning

You can motivate students in many ways, including:

  • connecting course materials to students’ current interests and future goals
  • having students engage with authentic, real-world tasks
  • making it clear that students can succeed in your class by providing clear expectations, benchmarks, and rubrics

Read more on motivating student learning.

Growth mindset

Students thrive when instructors model a growth mindset: the idea that abilities can be developed through hard work.

Inclusive course climate

Inclusive instructors are mindful of the experiences of students who are members of underrepresented groups at Stanford (such as first-generation students) and groups who are underrepresented in a given domain, such as women in many STEM fields. Read more on creating an inclusive course climate and supporting vulnerable students.

Red and white roses creating a block S on the Stanford Oval.

Key dates for end-term feedback

Check the dates for end-term feedback for the academic year.

Students sitting in a lecture.

Frequently asked questions

Get answers to some common questions.