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6 January 2020

How to give and receive feedback among your peers

How do you prefer to receive feedback? Giving and receiving feedback is an essential skill that will not only make you a better student, it will also have a positive impact throughout your career and your life in general. Cloud Campus students often share feedback while communicating with others online, which can present its own set of unique challenges. Take a look at our guide to giving and receiving feedback online and see what works for you.

Decide on a space

There are plenty of ways you can communicate online with your peers. Everyone has their preferred method. Some people prefer communicating via email so they can provide considered feedback, others prefer to meet over video chat so they can work through the feedback with you, and others like to meet in person. It’s best to have a chat first and figure out what space is going to work for all parties.

If you’re seeking feedback from someone, it might be best to follow their lead and use the method they prefer. Remember, you’re hoping to get as much insightful and useable feedback as possible, so it’s important that the person you’ve approached for feedback feels comfortable.

Tips for receiving feedback

Be respectful

Sometimes feedback can make us feel a negative emotional response, especially if the feedback isn’t something you thought you were going to hear. It’s important to remind yourself that the person giving the feedback has gone out of their way to give you advice on your work. You need to listen to their opinion with an open mind.

If you feel someone is giving you feedback that isn’t constructive, you should ask them to pause and clarify what they mean. See if they can dig a little deeper into their comments and pinpoint exactly what it is about your work that has reacted with them. Then you can try and seek their advice on how to move forward with that feedback.

Use active listening

When you’re receiving feedback from someone verbally, either in person or over a video or phone call, make sure you practise active listening. Concentrate on what the person is saying to you and let them know that you’re listening. A simple ‘good point’ or ‘yes, for sure’ can let the person giving you feedback know that you’re listening and encourage them to tell you more.

To learn more about active listening and other methods of communicating, explore our page of communication tools.


Once you’ve got your feedback, use it! The whole point of feedback is to improve your work. Sometimes it’s best to take some time to consider the feedback and then come back to it at a later date when you have more perspective on the work. Usually, it’s the feedback that we disagree with the most that has the most merit, so make sure you don’t dismiss anything straight away.

Sometimes you’ll need to implement changes almost immediately. Make sure you consider all the feedback you’ve received and try to take on as much as possible. If there’s any feedback you need to clarify, get in touch with whoever gave you the feedback and ask a few questions.

Tips for giving feedback

Get permission

It’s important to make sure the person you’re going to be giving feedback to actually wants to hear from you. Before you jump in and start giving them your opinions, ask them if they’re interested in hearing your thoughts. Make an agreement with them and let them know how you like to give feedback and what you’d like to give feedback on. Ask them if they think they’ll find value in your feedback.

Be constructive

Feedback should never be entirely negative. Try and point out issues you have with the work and to suggest possible solutions. For example, don’t say, ‘This bit of your essay isn’t very good’. Consider your own feedback, identify what it is about this part of the essay that sticks out to you and then say something more like, ‘I think you could find a stronger quote to back up this point’.

Make a sandwich

A tried and true method of giving constructive criticism is to put it in a ‘sandwich’. Start off with a compliment about the work you’re giving feedback on, then let the recipient know your constructive criticism, before closing with another thing you liked about the work. This is a particularly useful method when you’re delivering a large or complex piece of feedback that could be hard for a person to process.

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