For Wlodkowski and Ginsberg (1995), feedback is information provided to learners about the quality of their work. It is probably the best way to influence competency acquisition on the part of learners, because it encourages them to reframe, challenge, or regulate their knowledge in the aim of change, advancement, evolution, or explanation. Its goal is to inform rather than control, while at the same time promoting efficiency, creativity, and autonomy among staff. Feedback appears to affect the motivation of learners, because it allows them to evaluate their progress better, understand their performance, sustain their efforts, and receive encouragement (Wlodkowski and Ginsberg, 1995).
In the accompaniment process, feedback can serve as a springboard for discussing and analyzing a situation, communicating information, or taking stock. It can be limited in scope to specific information destined for a single person, or refer more broadly to reflections, comparisons, or new awareness that spur a group to reframe, challenge, or regulate practices in the aim of change, advancement, evolution, or explanation. The type of feedback most widely used in the accompaniment process occupies a continuum ranging from minimally to highly reflective, i.e., feedback that promotes diverse levels of reflection. In reflective-interactive feedback . . . the degree of reflectivity and reflective interactivity may vary. Non- or minimally reflective-interactive feedback supplies information about actions, productions, attitudes, or behavior in the form of commentary, evaluation, or suggested solutions for a given situation. Feedback at the reflective-interactive end of the continuum encourages feedback recipients to reflect on their actions, productions, attitudes, or behaviors and to envisage and discuss solutions (Lafortune 2004d, p. 296-297 [translation]).
Using feedback in the context of a prescribed change is a challenge for accompaniment providers, since not all experiments and ideas will be appropriate for the change to be implemented. Giving feedback in a change context means keeping the following goals in mind: 1) situating the theoretical foundations of the change; 2) ensuring that all aspects of the feedback are consistent; 3) agreeing to take a critical view that involves challenging ideas and practices; 4) taking into account the affective dimension while also considering the change and the professional relationship in question. Accompaniment providers who act as guides learn to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of proposed actions and to support individuals as they evolve in their roles and develop their competencies. Feedback can be facilitated with strategies such as the following: 1) identify key words when listening to people present experiments and proposals; 2) build on the words or expressions they use; 3) ask questions in a way that engages the entire group, avoiding asides and two-way dialog; 4) limit the amount of time people can take to describe their experiences (for further explanation, see Lafortune, 2008a,b).