Saturday, January 05, 2013

One-minute paper

I was looking for something quite unrelated when I came across the concept of the "one minute paper". It's a very simple concept for quick and dirty feedback, seemingly used by people in the HE/FE sector.

It's not rocket science, just basics really, but it for some of our instructors I think it would be helpful, so I produced a form for them to riff on and wrote out some details for the wiki. Thought I'd share it and our template with you.

Firstly, some credits. I found the first mention on the website of Geoff Petty who is a teaching skills specialist my former boss had brought to my attention.


And a bit of poking about online brought up a couple of other resources about the idea:


As a reflective tool, it's practically featherlight - asking for a couple of sentences isn't going to lead to any profound improvements in learning uptake; but from our perspective, every little matters and for learners who simply equate "presence in the classroom" with training - and we do see some of these - anything that encourages a little self-regard is to be welcomed.

Note, we tend to avoid using the language of school and education so we've called it "review" rather than paper. So, this is what I have written for colleagues, and you find links to the template below. Let me know if you find it useful.


Introducing the One Minute Review

The idea of the “one minute paper” as a feedback and reflective learning exercise originates in the FE/HE sector. It seeks to improve:
  • feedback from delegates to tutors 
  • reflective learning by delegates 
Delegates complete a short reflection and review exercise at the end of each session/day, typically just one or two questions. The questions should make them think about their learning and where they could be helped. Their answers should be brief, but contain enough information to inform the tutor.

Benefits for students:
  • opportunity for reflection on topics 
  • chance to seek help
Benefits for tutors:
  • feedback on how the day went 
  • chance to correct misapprehension 
  • “lightweight” - not another large burden on their time 
Benefits for organisation 
  • demonstrate learner has voice 
  • tool for guiding ongoing development and improvement of course 

Process for use

  1. Tell learners about the process during the course opening, 
    1. issue first form at that point so they can see it 
    2. point out it can be anon if they prefer 
    3. stress that no names will be mentioned even if they do give them so it's a chance to ask questions they don't feel comfortable asking in front of everyone else 
  2. at end of day ask learners to spend a couple of minutes (one per question); if necessary use the moment to recap everything covered over the day (this in itself can be a good activity to do anyway) 
    1. don't collect the forms directly yourself 
    2. use a tray or envelope 
  3. quickly review the comments 
    1. look for any trends that tell you if anything has not panned out the way you expect, for example 
      1. lots of people giving the same answer suggests a point may not have been as clear as you thought 
      2. any wildly off topic points raised may suggest somebody has made an error of comprehension 
      3. a broad spread of mainly on topic comments suggests natural diversity 
    2. if there are any points to answer the next day, make plans to do so 
  4. unless instructed otherwise, you can shred the feedback forms 
  5. remember to forward any significant reports back to whoever checks your quality so that plans can be made to rectify any larger problems that need fixing. 

Things to remember in responding

  • Don't identify the person who raised the question - fine if they do, but you should have promised anonymity so don't compromise it 
  • Don't take their responses personally - individuals learn in different ways and what may seem perfectly obvious to you, and indeed many other students, may not always appear so to everyone 
  • Don't go tweaking the course based on every comment - sometime people attend the wrong course for them - they're at fault; not necessarily the course itself.

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