The Art of Providing Effective Feedback

Professional skills trainers have shown increased interest in Viddler Training Suite, our video-based learning portal. In part, they love the idea of providing feedback—in context—on a learner-submitted practice video. That has sparked some lively conversations on what constitutes good feedback.

During these discussions, an intrepid Viddler intern handed me the book, HBR Guide to Delivering Effective Feedback. Based on a first reading, I can say that every manager, team leader, and professional trainer should buy this guide.


That goes double for anyone using an online learning portal. If you’re using (or considering buying) Viddler Training Suite, this is a good resource.

Here are some selected highlights:

Throughout the book, it’s clear that feedback should never be limited to formal performance reviews. It should be ongoing— incorporated into a manager’s or team leader’s daily interactions with the team. That’s a tough one for teams separated by distance, schedules, and multiple time zones. (That’s why the asynchronous nature of Viddler Training Suite is so great. Interactions don’t have to be rigidly scheduled!)

The book spends time on the need for clear, goal-oriented messaging, and the value of both positive and negative feedback. (Hint: Both have their place at different times in the learning cycle.) It also stresses the value of acknowledging accomplishments—something that Viddler Training Suite facilitates very well with back-and-forth video assignments.

I also found the book’s discussion of performance measurement enlightening. Not all training results are easily quantified—as anyone who has administered a written test will acknowledge. Numeric scoring has its place, but ultimately it is the subjective evaluation of the team leader that makes the real difference in boosting performance and reinforcing goals.

I could go on, but I can’t without violating copyright law. The bottom line: Get the book, read it, and use it when you work with your team. Let us know how what worked, and what didn’t.

It will make your experience with Viddler Training Suite even better.


Note to Viddler Training Suite users: To help you get the most out of our system, we will keep recommending resources like this one. (If you have a good training or practice reinforcement technique you’d like to share, please let us know.)


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