Can Real Time Performance Feedback Improve Instructional Practice?

October 5, 2021

A review of the evidence for real-time performance feedback to improve instructional practice. Performance feedback, including real time performance feedback, has been implemented across many contexts including educational settings.  Sinclair, Gesel, LeJeune, and Lemons (2020) evaluated 32 studies that met their inclusion criteria to determine the effectiveness of real-time performance feedback in improving the instructional practices of educators. Interestingly, all but two of the studies utilized bug-in-the-ear technology in which the teacher wore an ear piece and a coach provided immediate feedback to the teacher as implementation of an intervention was occurring.  In this review, teachers implementing both academic instruction and behavior management interventions were considered.  Based on this review, the authors concluded that real time performance feedback was an evidence-based practice and could be used as a method for improving the performance of pre-service teachers, teachers, and paraprofessionals.  The bug-in-the-ear technology offers several advantages.  First, it is less intrusive than other methods for providing real time feedback.  With current technology, the coach can view implementation in the classroom without being in the classroom.  Technologies such as Go Pro and Swivl have sufficient flexibility for the coach to get a good sample of what is happening in the classroom.  A second advantage is that because the feedback is immediate it is more likely to be effective compared to when the feedback is delayed.  Finally, the bug-in-the-ear technology is time saving because the feedback is delivered in real-time.  Brief follow-up meetings to discuss issues related to the intervention can be scheduled.  Interestingly, bug-in-the-ear technology has been around for decades but has been under-utilized in educational settings.  An analysis of the barriers to utilizing this technology more broadly is warranted.  The potential for impact on implementation of an intervention is significant.

Citation: Sinclair, A. C., Gesel, S. A., LeJeune, L. M., & Lemons, C. J. (2020).  A review of the evidence for real-time performance feedback to improve instructional practice. The Journal of Special Education54(2), 90-100.