Helpful Feedback: Information, Motivation, and Strategies for Improvement

October 5-6, 2017 & April 26-27, 2018


As medical schools and residency training programs move towards competency-based assessment systems, formative feedback becomes an increasingly important component in effective clinical learning. Accrediting organizations for undergraduate and graduate medical education programs have explicitly stated expectations that learners will be provided with formal formative feedback during courses, clerkships, and rotations. Learning to give effective and constructive feedback can be challenging for health professions educators because of the cognitive, technical, and psychosocial skills required. Feedback involves a complex interaction between the format and focus of the feedback, how the teacher “gives” the feedback, and how the teacher relates to and motivates the learner.

This two-day certificate program is designed for health professions educators who teach and supervise learners in undergraduate and graduate health professions education programs.

Through participation in this program, participants should gain capabilities in the following educator competencies:
  • Creating an educational climate in which learning is facilitated
  • Communicating expectations and goals in ways that stimulate and engage learners
  • Determine each learner’s prior knowledge and skills through direct observation or questions
  • Provide specific feedback to each learner to help the learner improve
  • Facilitate dialogue and understanding during times of professional conflict

By the end of this certificate program, each participant should be able to:

  • Reflect on personal experience of giving feedback to learners
  • Describe the characteristics of effective and ineffective feedback
  • Observe learner behaviors using descriptive language
  • Demonstrate a process for giving constructive feedback
  • Analyze “difficult” feedback situations using the framework provided
  • Construct alternative approaches to “difficult” feedback situations
  • Develop and implement a plan for improving feedback to learners
Thursday, October 5, 2017/April 26, 2018
 Morning Session (9:00-12:00)

  • Introductions
  • Written reflection and debriefing: Situations in which giving feedback was relatively easier and relatively difficult
  • Presentation: Definition, purposes, and characteristics of effective feedback
  • Video review and debriefing: Building skills in observing learners and describing their behaviors
 Lunch (12:00-1:00)
Afternoon Session (1:00-4:00)

  • Presentation: Process for giving feedback
  • Small-group exercise: Role-play with “easier” situations and verbal feedback quality instrument
  • Debriefing: Demonstrating effective practice from small groups
  • Setting goals for personal development: Learning from current practice performance assessment
Friday, October 6, 2017/April 27, 2018
 Morning Session (9:00-12:00)

  • Review of first day: Lessons learned and questions
  • Discussion: Features of situations in which giving feedback is relatively difficult
  • Presentation: Framework for analyzing difficulties
  • Small-group exercise: Analysis of a “difficult” scenario
Lunch (12:00-1:00)
  Afternoon Session (1:00-4:00):

  • Presentation: Skills for addressing difficult situations – understanding goal orientation, coaching, scaffolding and debriefing
  • Group practice and debriefing: Using the verbatim technique – Hearing other people’s stories
  • Discussion and questions on optional topics – written feedback; identifying the learner in difficulty; encouraging self-directed assessment seeking in learners
  • Setting goals for personal development: Learning from the application of performance improvement to clinical teaching practice

Registration Information:  Cost of the two-day program is $750.00*, which includes lunch and instructional materials. If you are interested in registering for this program, please complete the online registration form below or contact Laura Schaaf at Please note that space is limited. Submission of the registration form does not complete or guarantee your registration. You will receive a follow up email from Laura Schaaf ( with more information on the status of your registration.

October 5-6, 2017 online registration form

April 26-27, 2018 online registration form

Payment is required to secure your registration. Payment instructions can be found on the payment form. If you have any questions, please contact Laura Schaaf at or at 312-996-5406. Please note that in order to create an optimal and useful learning experience, the program is subject to possible cancellation due to insufficient registrations. This determination will be made after the registration deadline.

 For more information about the program content, please contact Janet M. Riddle, MD at


Please note:

  • This program is intended as a professional development program to increase educational knowledge and skills. The certificate for this program is not transcripted, so it does not provide university credits and does not provide any kind of “certification”.
  • After confirmation that the program will occur as scheduled, registration cancellations made more than 4 weeks before the program start date will receive a 50% refund of the program cost; registration cancellations made 4 week or less before the program start date will not receive a refund.

* Please contact Laura Schaaf at for UIC and affiliate discount information.